Skip to main content

Full text of "Kilbourne : yesterday and today, 1870-1970"

See other formats





— 1 — 


We like to live in a little town. 

Where the trees meet across the street; 
Where you wave your hand and say "Hello" 

To everyone you meet. 
We like to stand for a moment 

Outside the grocery store, 
And listen to the friendly gossip 

Of the folks that live next door. 

For life is interwoven 

With the friends we learn to know, 
And we hear their joys and sorrows 

As we daily come and go. 
So we like to live in a little town. 

And care no more to roam ; 
For every house in a little town 

Is more than a house — it's home. 

On a place mat from the "Bronze Lantern" 
Dinner House and Motel, Yuma, Colorado, visited by 
Hazel and Glen Hughes in 1952. 

- 2 - 





1870 - 1970 




with the cooperation 


- 3 - 


■'The Kilbourne Independent' published 
December 5, 1902 by Ernest Madison states: 

"Kilbourne is situated eleven miles southeast of 
Havana, the county seat. It is located on the 
C.P.&St.L. Railway. The Sangamon River flows 
within 1'4 miles of the village, which, with the creeks 
and lakes within three miles, form fine fishing and 
hunting grounds. Kilbourne has the best drinking 
water in the state of Illinois. Physicians and 
prominent men have pronounced it such. Persons in 
poor health say they have better health here than ever 
before. Kilbourne has good shipping facilities and is 
surrounded by one of the most productive agricultural 
soils on which the principal products are wheat and 
corn. " 

Today, the railway has changed to the Chicago 
and Illinois Midland; corn continues as an important 
crop, but wheat has given place on many farms to 
corn, soy beans, melons of all kinds, plus vegetable 
crops such as green beans, potatoes, sweet corn, 
carrots, onions, and squash. Approximately 400 acres 
in the area are in production of vegetables and 
melons. These products can be found, in season, at the 
roadside stands in and near Kilbourne. The land itself 
is still one of our great assets. 

Due to the existence of a vast underground lake, 
water for irrigation is readily available. Mason 
County has about 22,000 acres under irrigation. As of 
the present, 6000 acres of the total are in vegetable 
crops and the remainder in corn. Kilbourne Township 
has nine irrigators totaling 2,650 acres according to 
records of Co-operative Extension Service. 

Kilbourne is located in the "Lincoln Country ". 
Within easy driving distance are several of the 
famous Lincoln memorials — New Salem Park at 
Petersburg, Lincoln's Home and Tomb and other 
historical sites in Springfield. Other nearby places of 
interest include Dickson Mounds, Mason State Forest, 
Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge, Mason State Tree 
Nursery, all near Havana, and Jubilee College State 
Park near Peoria. 

We are also surrounded by some of the best 
colleges and universities — Bradley at Peoria, 
Western at Macomb, Illinois State and Wesleyan at 
Bloomington, University of Illinois at Urbana, 
Millikin at Decatur, Lincoln College at Lincoln, 
Southern Illinois at Carbondale, and colleges at 
Springfield, Canton, Peoria, and Eureka. 

Our people have many different occupations. Cars 
begin buzzing early each weekday morning as quite a 
number of our community leave for their work in 
Peoria, Pekin, Bartonviile, Lincoln, Springfield, 
Petersburg, Beardstown, Canton, and possibly other 
towns. Others either own businesses or are locally 
employed. Since agriculture is the chief industry of 
the area, many are engaged in some phase of farming. 

Although many things have changed throughout 
the history of Kilbourne, fortunately, some things 
remain almost unchanged. Fish and wildlife are still 
rather plentiful. We continue to have clean, "smog- 
free " air. And, we think we have the best drinking 
water to be found anywhere! 


— 4 


The ancestors of the American Indian were 
thought to have come from Asia across to Alaska and 
drifted into the desert regions of the West. At the time 
of the melting of the last glacier, about 12,000 to 15,000 
B.C., a small number journeyed to the Midwest. A 
very few of the artifacts that have been found in 
Mason County are of the Paleo Indian culture. Later, 
this group was followed by the Archie, Early 
Woodland, Late Woodland. Mississippian, Proto-His- 
toric, and Historical cultures. Each of these larger 
groups might consist of many tribes and tongues. The 
Mississippian period is represented in the Dickson 
Mounds excavation. 

The maps of the earliest French explorers show 
the Michigamea Tribe on the north bluff of the 
Sangamon River (which they named the Emiquen), 
southeast of the present town of Kilbourne. This is 
probably •Yellow Banks" where Dr. Root found many 
of his famous Indian relics, most of which seem to 
now be at Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. 
The Michigameas were later driven out by the Fox 
Indians and finally settled in Arkansas. Later, the 
Kickapoo (sometimes called the Prairie Kickapoo) 
occupied this region. 

Some of the descendants of Mr William Craggs 
Sr. who settled north of town in 1845, remember his 
telling that the Indians still had a camp at that time, 
in the timber on the old Eichenauer farm where the 
Kenneth Fanters now live. Years later, the rings of 
earth which had been banked around the wigwams 
were still visible 


Mason County, one of the one hundred two 
counties of the State of Illinois, was formed from 
parts of Sangamon. Menard, and Tazewell by an act 
approved on January 20, 1841. 

When the Territory of Illinois was formed in 1809, 
the future Mason County was a part of St. Clair 
County; then in 1812, it became a part of Madison 
County. Three years after Illinois was admitted to 
statehood, Sangamon County was organized in 1821, 
and it contained the region that became Mason 
County. By 1839. the area forming Mason County was 
transferred to Menard County. The northern portion 
of our county was taken from Tazewell . 

At the time of its establishment, there were only 
three precincts in the territory that comprised Mason 
County. They were known as the Havana Precinct, 
Salt Creek Precinct, and the Texas Precinct. Other 
precincts were formed from these as time passed. 

Records show that the part which is now Bath, 
Lynchburg. Kilbourne, Crane Creek, Salt Creek, and 
Mason City belonged to Sangamon, and later to 

Menard County. The remainder of the county, 
including the townships of Havana, Sherman, 
Pennsylvania, Aliens Grove, Manito, Forest City, 
Quiver, belonged to the older county of Tazewell 

The lands within the present county were 
surveyed and opened for settlement in the years 1821 
to 1825 by William L. May and others. During the next 
decade, there were fewer than twenty-five families 
residing in the limits of Mason County. Settlements 
were slow because the region of the county within the 
forks of the Illinois and Sangamon rivers was looked 
upon as a sandy, barren waste, devoid of interest 
except for roving hunters and fishermen. 

Historians tell that the first white men to set foot 
on Mason County were Louis Joliet, a French trader, 
and James Marquette, a Jesuit missionary. An 
obscure squatter named James Hokum is believed to 
dwell on the soil that later became Havana and Mason 
County; he did not remain. James Hokum is recorded 
as working as an Illinois River ferryman for Major 
Ossian N. Ross, who had earlier founded both Fulton 
County and Lewistown. Mr. Ross set up a ferry 
service at the mouth of Spoon River, opposite the 
present location of Havana. On that site resided the 
squatter James Hokum. He had a child born in his 
home — the first white child born in Mason County. 

Ossian Ross moved to Havana and took charge of 
the ferry in 1827 and entered the first land in the 
county, where the city of Havana now stands. The 
town was laid out by Stephen Dewey in November. 

About 1837, settlers began to pour into the county 
rapidly. It became known that some of the finest 
farms could be made out of the unpromising soil, and 
the population increased. Because the county seats of 
Tazewell and Menard were too far away for 
convenience, the matter of the formation of a new 
county was agitated; and in 1841, Governor Thomas 
Carlin approved formation of Mason County. 

From the beginning, Havana and Bath were 
competitors for the seat of justice of Mason County. 
Bath became the County Seat from 1843-1851. When an 
election was approved in 1850, Bath realized that 
strategy was needed to defeat the heavily populated 
area of Havana. A place called Cuba, located in 
Kilbourne Township on Section 10. centrally located, 
was laid out on paper as a new county seat location. 
On March 1851. Havana won the election, and Cuba 
was out of existence. 

An election in November, 1861. adopted the 
township form of government. Eleven townships. 
Mason City, Aliens Grove, Pennsylvania, Mason 
Plains, Manito, Quiver. Havana, Crane Creek, Bath, 
and Lynchburg, were formed. The boundaries of these 
(township) were much the same as today, except fo/ 
the formation of Sherman from Havana and 
Pennsylvania townships, and of Kilbourne from Bath 
and Crane Creek. The name of Mason Plains was 
changed to Forest City Township in 1874. 

5 - 


This part of Mason County was at one time timber 
land, wild prairies, and marshes. Much of the timber 
has been cleared off, the prairies turned upside down, 
and marshy land, once considered worthless, has 
become productive farming ground with proper 
drainage. This territory swarmed with deer, wild 
turkeys, prairie chickens, and now and then, a 
panther's scream was heard. It was not unusual for a 
pioneer to shoot a deer from the doorway of his cabin. 
Turkeys were run down and captured on horseback, 
thus saving ammunition. We realize little of what our 
forefathers had to endure to open up this country. But 
the more we read and the more stories we hear about 
these pioneer folk, the more we come to know and 
appreciate them. May we introduce some of these 
early comers to our Kilbourne area? 

One of the first to dare to cross the Sangamon 
River into our area was Jesse Baker, described as a 
robust stalwart pioneer who grew 90 bushels of corn to 
the acre. Historian Cochrane says he was one of the 
first white men in Mason County. Baker School and 
the Jesse Baker Cemetery were named for him 

In the early 1830"s, Absalom Mounts, a miller 
from Clary's Grove in what is now Menard County, 
built a home and a mill on Crane Creek. It was made 
to run with water conveyed over the dam through a 
hollow sycamore log on to a "flutter-wheel "; later it 
was converted to use horse or ox power when the 
creek was low. It was a crude affair but was the first 
mill in this section of the country and pioneers from 
all around brought their corn to be ground into meal. 

We also find the names of Henry Sears — ancestor 
of many residents of this area, Gibson Garrett, John 
Grigg, Josiah Dobson, J. B. Grim. Close, and Sidwell. 
Lewis Clarkson is reported to be the first settler on 
what was known later as Field's Prairie. 

Between 1835 and 1840, we see a big migration into 
this region. Many became permanent residents and 
took an active part in the establishment of our 
churches, schools, and local government. It seemed to 
be the practice of early settlers, most of whom were 
accustomed to living in forested country in the East 
and Southeast, to build their new cabins in or near the 
woods. Dr. Drury S. Field was one of the first to 
foresee the value and possibilities of the prairie lands 
lying west of here, even though some of it was quite 
low and marshy. Through his agent, V. B. Holmes of 
the little village of Matanzas, he entered 12,000 acres 
that has ever since been called Field's Prairie. A 
write-up in the 1874 Mason County Atlas calls Field's 
Prairie "the best part of Mason County". 

Drury S. Field (1804-1838), a native of Virginia, 
son of Edmund Field who was a soldier in the 
Revolutionary War, brought his family to Illinois by 
way of Alabama, living there for a time, and settled 
here about 1835-36. He was a physician and is said to 

be the first practitioner in the county. A county 
history states that Dr. Field built the first frame 
house in Kilbourne Township and the third in the 
county. It even had glass windows! Relatives believe 
that this was the Charley Field house that Clell Daniel 
tore down in 1962 when he built the house now 
occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Eddy. The sills 
were hand-hewn walnut and one of the better ones was 
used in the new building. 

The Drury S. Field family included Albert J. — 
grandfather of our summer resident. Dr. A. C. Field, 
and Mrs. May Hughes; Mary J. — wife of our 
historian, James M. Ruggles; two other daughters 
married Smith Turner and Major Gatton, both 
prominent names in the history of Bath; and Algernon 
E. who married Miss Bessie Craggs, daughter of 
Isabella and William Craggs Sr. A. E. worked along 
with his father and did some "doctoring", was a 
druggist, was quite interested in farming, and was 
spoken of as a man of intellect and influence in the 

The children of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Field were 
Drury T. (grandfather of Miss Vera Upp of our 
village), Sarah, Frances, and Henry A. of the Craggs 
and Field Store. Leatha Field Ringland and her 
husband, Hal, are living on a part of Field's Prairie 
that has been in the family ever since it was obtained 
by U. S. patent from the government by her Great- 
grandfather Drury S. Field. 

Another family coming during this period was 
that of George Washington Daniel with sons, Isley, 


- 6 - 

Callaway, Martin, and George; a sister, Katy, 
became Mrs. John Conklin and another sister, Mary, 
married John Young Sr. A host of our local people and 
former residents can claim G. W. Daniel as their 
grand, great-grand, or " 'ever-so-great-" grandfather. 
Most of the land owned by this family was on the south 
side of the township toward the Sangamon. 

The Blunts, who settled on the west edge of the 
prairie, came from Maryland by way of Kentucky. 
The family included Thomas F. — remembered in Mt. 
Zion history, Robert who had the first idea for the 
Succor Press Drill, Lydia (Mrs. Henry Samuell), 
Aaron A. — the minister, Hiram who was said to be 
the first birth in Bath, Levi, Laben, and Richard. 
According to a quote from A. A. Blunt in the Mason 
County book, his father, Thomas F. Blunt, owned the 
first threshing machine and the first reaper in the 
county. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Blunt of the next 
generation lived just east of the Mt. Zion Church. 
Their children were Alice (Mrs. Henry Clark), Lena 
(Mrs. Oscar Harris), and son, Gay. The Blunt 
offspring are scattered far and wide. 

About the same period also came James Blakeley 
and his wife, Hannah, daughter of Aaron Scott who 
was an early settler in adjoining Crane Creek 
Township and was also the grandfather of our picture- 
taking Ora Scott Cobb. The Blakeleys who were 
natives of New Jersey, were married in 1828, and 
located in Sangamon County in 1835. Three years 
later, Mr. Blakeley built what is said to be the first 
cabin in town, later moving to the north side of the 
township. Two of their nine children raised their 
families around here and are very much a part of 
Kilbourne history. One son, Aaron Scott and wife, 
Sarah Jane (Brown), lived in the Jones School 
neighborhood and were parents of Rufus, Emma 
(Mrs. Sylvester Drake), Edwin, and Nellie 
(Rengstorff ). Another son, John M. and his first wife, 
Rachel ( Anderson ), had two sons, Orley and Harry L. 
Blakeley. Two daughters, May (Mrs. Ben Lane) and 
Etta (Mrs. Gay Blunt) were born of his second 
marriage to Martha Mowder. The Albert Hodgsons 
live in the house built by John M. Blakeley on the 
north edge of Kilbourne near Route 97. 

We find these names, too, in the last half of the 
1830's: Thomas Martin. Joel Garrett, Henry Norris, 
Nelson B. Ashurst (father of John L. Ashurst of the 
drill factory ), John Young and sons — Anderson, John 
Jr., William, and Mitchell. John Jr. married 
Elizabeth Friend, was in the grain business for some 
time, served in the Illinois State Legislature, and was 

Q.^ U 


treasurer of the drainage district during the period of 
dredging and straightening of the Sangamon River. 

Then there were Samuell Scott, John Cookson, 
John Lamb, Rev. Elisha Stevens — a Methodist 
minister, William McDaniel — father of George 
McDaniel whose family made and sold the famous 
yeast, James Watkins, and Jacob Cross. Moses Ray 
and sons, Aaron, Hiram, and James settled on the east 
side of Field's Prairie. The elder Ray was a 
backwoods preacher, a "Hardshell" Baptist. The 
Rays homesteaded the quarter section where 
Kilbourne now stands. 

There were several Pratts in our locality and they 
entered quite a lot of land southwest of the present 
town which explains the name of Pratt Lake. Pratt 
Cemetery was named for George Pratt who donated 
the site for the burial grounds. Several in our 
community carry on the name. 

In the 1840's we see the names of James Ross, 
Michael Ott, I. A. Hurd — the teacher, William 
Turner, J. B. Walker — listed as a grain buyer, the 
Tolleys — related to the descendants of the second 
marriage of William Craggs, as well as the Hanleys, 
the Eatons, the Holtslaws, the Ermelings, and the 
Yardleys up Crane Creek way. Abraham Williamson 
was an ancestor of our rural schoolteacher, Gertie 
Williamson Ermeling, also of the children of William 
Craggs's first marriage and many others. The 
posterity of William Friend and Benjamin Sisson who 
lived down west of here are helping to keep up the 
enrollment of Balyki Schools. 

The Samuell family gave many citizens to this and 
other parts of our country. Henry Samuell married 
Lydia Blunt and lived not far from the Mt. Zion 
Church. Their son, Joe, was a son-in-law of Dr. Root. 
Joe's brother, Hickman, was a teacher; their sister, 
Kitty (Geisler) was our milliner for some time; two 
other sisters married Perry and Winfield Sutton. 

In 1845, the Gores, Edwin and Jane, settled on 
what is now the Lloyd Sutton farm. After the death of 
her husband, Mrs. Gore kept on with the farm and 
raised her large family there. Many interesting 

— 7 — 

anecdotes come from "Grandma Gore" and her big 
house with the two stairways that made a splendid 
"follow the leader merry-go-round" for her children 
and their friends. Ella Beckwith's mother, Frances 
Madison (Craggs), was one of those neighbor 
youngsters. It is a tradition that the Gore home was a 
stop-over on the stage coach line from Havana to 
Petersburg by way of Bath, crossing the Sangamon 
River below Kilbourne at Gum's Ferry. Our Lincoln 
story is that Abraham Lincoln boarded at this "half- 
way-house" while doing some surveying. Grandma 
Gore is said to have told him that she was afraid he 
would never amount to anything, that he was "too 
'tuk' to the books""! 

In this decade also came the Ketchams ( relatives 
of our retired teacher, Goldie Ketcham), Joseph 
Groves, John Micklam of the interesting gravestones 
at the Kilbourne Cemetery, Edward McCormick, A. 
H. Neal, James Angelo (of Angelo Lake? according to 
records was married to Abigail Ketcham in 1841), 
Samuell Cannon, the Craggs family from "Old 
Hengland", John L. Clarkston, and the Conovers 
(Conover Station was probably named for them). I. D. 
Lane lived north and east of town, August Kraft on 

James M. Hardin and family settled southwest of 
Hardin School and his name appears frequently in 
responsible positions in county, township, church, and 

school. We have assumed that Hardin School was 
named for him. John Conklin and his wife, Katy 
(Daniel) — ancestors of all the Conklins in these 
parts, and D. B. Beardon, who married a sister of 
John L. and Louis B. Ashurst, lived in this same 
vicinity. John B. Hanson had one transaction between 
him and the U. S. government; (John Grigg entered 
the land in 1835 later selling it to Roy Hanson's 
grandfather, John B. ) This place is still in the Hanson 
name and is farmed by a Hanson — Johns great- 
great-grandson, Robert. Stokes Edwards also farmed 
in this locality and was one of those all-important 
blacksmiths of that time. 

We will mention only briefly some of the added 
names in the 1850"s and 60's. After all, this is getting 
into modern times! In 1879, the population of the 
village of Kilbourne alone was 150! About this time, 
the families of Ade, Koke, and Kemper came from 
Germany; Peter Williams and the Walters from 
Prussia; the Dwyer, Boyle, and Coffey families from 
Ireland; the Dolbins from Wales; Lascelles and the 
Brents from England. Those who carried the names of 
Milleson. Carter. Vanaken, Elliot. Lowrance 
Wallace. Watkins, Mowder, Miller, Curry, Drake, 
Davis, Beckwith, Cobb, Coggeshall, Madison, and 
Crane had evidently been "on this side"" a while 
longer. Kilbourne had its own "melting pot"! 

COBB HOME — typical 2-rooin home, raised 10 children there, located west of New Lebanon Church. Norman, 
Mr. William Cobb, Mary Cobb (Ketcham), Roy, Mrs. Nancy Ware Cobb, George. 

- 8 - 








TOWNSHIP 19 - Range 8 (As given in Atlas) : 

Blunt, H. M. Kilbourne 




Jefferson Co. 

Bearden, D. B. Kilbourne 




Christian Co. 

Curry, R. A. Kilbourne 




New York 

Conklin, John Kilbourne 



Farmer & 
Stock Raiser 


TOWNSHIP 19 -Range 9: 

Upp, Wm. Kilbourne 



Carpenter & 

York Co. , P( 




TOWNSHIP 19 - Range 10: 

Clarkston, John L. 
TOWNSHIP 20 - Ringe 8: 

Bigelow, E. H. 

Baker, Jesse 
Blakeley, A. S. 

Beckwith, H. 
Crawford, H. P. 

Curry, Dexter 
Conover, J. B. 
Curry, John A. 
Dillon, John I. 

Darrell, L. P. 
Danford, J. T. 

Field, A. E. 

Gore, Jane 
Grim, J. B. 


Sec. 25 


Mason Co. , 111. 

Hanley, Mrs. Melissa I. Kilbourne 



Merchant & 
Grain Dealer 

New York 


Sec. 12 


Knoxville, Tenn 

Long Branch 

Sec. 17 


Sangamon Co. 


Sec. 16 


Crawford Co, 


Sec. 13 

& Surgeon 

Sangamon Co. 


Sec. 32 


iJew York 


Sec. 20 


Cass Co. 







Farmer & 








Carriage & 
Wagon Maker 



Sec. 33 

Druggist & 
Dealer in 



Sec. 31 




Sec. 28 

Farmer & 
Stock Dealer 

Greene Co. , Ky. 


Sec. 24 


Mason Co. 















Kraft, August 


Sec. 8 




Lee, Stephen 


Sec. 20 

Farmer & 
Stock Raiser 



Lane, I. D. 


Sec. 15 


Warren Co. , 



Lee, S. B. 






Moore, Madison H. 


Poplar City 


Warren Co. , 









Roat, John W. 


Cobb & 
Crane Place 

Farmer & 
Stock Raiser 

Warren Co. , 



Thompson, C. 



Sec. 19 




Walker, J. B. 



Grain Buyer 



TOWNSHIP 20 -Range 9: 

Alderson. M. H. 


Sec, 36 


Hart Co. , Ky. 


Ashurst, John L. 


Sec. 36 

Blacksmith & 
Mfg. Succor 
Grain DriU 

Mason Co. , lU. 


What Do You Think Of This - 

Two Kilbourne boys are the sixth generation of a 
family who have all lived on the same farm — Robert 
and Michael Ranson — Robert, Ronald, Roy, George, 
and John B. Ranson. ( All males! ) 

Did You Know — 

Abraham Lincoln entered forty-seven acres of 
land on March 16, 1836 about a mile above Miller's 
Ferry, near where the town of Huron was laid out soon 
after. He sold the land the following year. 

How About This — 

Two Kilbourne youngsters are the seventh 
generation of a family who have lived in what is now 
Kilbourne Township — Ronda and Greg Ebken — 
Diane Gregory Ebken, Marie Blakeley Gregory, 
Walter, Rufus, Aaron Scott, and Great-great-great- 
great-grandfather James Blakeley. 

What Do You Know — 

Peter Williams is another early settler, 1869, with 
interesting experiences before settling here. He was 
born in Prussia in 1818 and emigrated to the United 
States in 1841. He worked in various places, St. Louis, 
New Orleans, Cincinnati, and as a deck hand and 
roustabout on the river. He came to Kilbourne 
Township in 1869; and was the father of Mary, 
Charles, and Peter Williams Jr.; and grandfather of 
Gertrude Williams Athey. 

The Field Crest — 

The Field family coat of arms is said to be one of 
the first ever given in the early twelfth century It is 
pictured with three sheaves of wheat, a chevron, and 
the motto — "Without God, nothing'. Theirs is 
probably one of the early family names derived from 
their place of residence. The Field history has been 
traced back to the tenth century when the family was 
known as 'de la Felds ". The French terms "de la" 
were dropped during the time of trouble between 
France and England. 

- 10 - 

1891 ATLAS 








Baker, Frank 


Sec. 25 





Beckwith, H. C. 


Sec. 16 





Blakeley. A. S. 


Sec. 8 





Blakeley, J. M. 


Sec. 28 





Blakeley, Rufus 


Sec. 9 





Brent, John 


Sec. 8 





Carter, J. C. 


Sec. 14 





Coggeshall, Jas. L. 


Sec. 28 





Conover, J. B. 

Grain Dealer Kilbourne 





Craggs, Charles 


Sec. 30 





Craggs, William 


Sec. 16 





Craggs, Jesse 







Crane, Geo. A. 


Sec. 13 





Daniel, Isley 


Sec. 4 





Dolbin, Robert 


Sec. 30 





Drake, Sylvester 


Sec. 16 





Drake, E. R. 


Sec. 22 





Dwyer, Wm. 


Sec. 16 





Eaton, Robert 


Sec. 1 

Poplar City 




EUiott, W. R. 


Sec. 12 





Ermeling, J. G. 


Sec. 12 

Poplar City 




Esiep, Abraham 


Sec. 12 

Poplar City 




Feild, H. A. 







Gore, J. W. 


Sec. 31 





Gore, J. H. 







Hardin, J. M. 


Sec. 31 





Hurd, I. A. 


Sec. 1 

Poplar City 


New York 


Ketcham, H. S. 







Koke, Henry 


Sec. 2 

Poplar City 




Lane, J. R. 


Sec. 15 





Madison, F. M. 







McW hotter, George 

Grain Dealer Kilbourne 





MiUeson, Abel 


Sec. 4 





Mowder, C. C. 


Sec. 5 





Parker, D. W. 


Sec. 22 



New York 


Pratt, Frank 


Sec. 35 





Ranson, George W. 


Sec. 32 





Ruggles. H. C. 







Scott, Samuel 


Sec. 10 



New Jersey 


Sears, John 


Sec. 26 





Stephens, Dr. B. M. 







Vanaken, Mannis 


Sec. 12 





Wallace, Allen 


Sec. 8 





Wallace, W. A. 


Sec. 25 





Walter, Henry F. 


Sec. 10 





Watkins, Frank 


Sec. 25 





Williams, Charles 


Sec. 12 





Yardley, J. A. 


Sec, 35 





Young, J. C. 


Sec. 30 





- 11 — 







Blunt, T. R, 








Friend, Wm. 








Gum. J. H. 








Hasher. N. A. 








MiUer. W. R. 




Bath or 




Samuell. H. L. 









Baker, Robt. 








Carter, Mrs, L. 








Estep, D. 








Holtslaw, G. W. 








Linn, John A. 








Morgan, Edmund 








Sears, Henry 






North Carolina 


Yardley, H. G. 

Farmer & 







SKETCH OF HENRY BECKWITH FARM — located east of Jones School 

- 12 - 



(No names repeated) 

Section 1 — I. M. Hurd. A. Estep. Robert Eaton, 
A. Hurd, Samuel Morris. 

Section 2 — A. Hurd, King Dean & Co.. Samuel 
Porter, P. Doyle. 

Section 3 — Tucker & Mansfield, Harmon 
Renuker, J. H. Kreiling. 

Section 4 — J. M. Shubert, J. A. Smith, August 
Kraft, A. Millison. 

Section 5 — A. G. Fisher, Joseph Mowder. 

Section 6 — Conwell & Kelsey. 

Section 7 — J. M. Ruggles. 

Section 8 — John Nelms, Campbell & Dearborn, 
D.C.Brown. JR. Tolley. 

Section 9 - J. A. Smith, B. F. Mastick. S. B. 
Jones, A. S. Blakeley, B. Boyle, F. Beckwith, H. 

Section 10 — H. Kemper, I. D. Lane, Monroe 
Brown, P. Page, Henry Sieging, E. B. Holmes, A. 

Section 11 — J. D. Murphy, H. R. Berkshire, M. 
McMullen, C. D. Loveland, A. Gallager. 

Section 12 — J. G. Armeling, Sam Vanetten, 
Manis Vanaken, J. Baker, J. T. Close. George Butler. 

Section 13 - H. P. Crawford, Mary Cox, G. W. 
Estep, William Mann, J. T. Close, J. M. Estep, G. W. 
Estep, J. Barker. J. J. Hanley. 

Section 14 — Peter Williams, Minnie Million, W. 
H. Castleberry. A. Ingraham. 

Section 15 — J. Dunkan, Dudley Shipp. Elias 
Gibson, Wm. Cobb, M. Dearborn, Dr. Parkins, Dan. 
Coffee, Stephen Dolbin. 

Section 16 — Wm. Dwyer, J. S. Williamson, R. 
Lane, Wm. Craggs. 

Section 17 & 18 — ( Names already given ) 

Section 19 — J. B. Conover, C, S. Thompson, C. H. 

Section 20 — John Lee, Stephen Lee. 

Section 21 — Isaac Vail. 

Section 22 — Newton Mitchell, Frank Ivers, L. 
Ketcham, J. McMurphy, D. Parker. 

Section 23 - H. B. Cutler, H. H. Carter, C. L. 
Newell, Dan. Clark, J. Campbell, D. McDaniel. 

Section 24 — Wm. Phelps, W. H. Webb, Henry 
ONeal, W.H.Morgan. 

Section 25 - W. H. Baker, E. T. Davenport, J. T. 
Close, Elias Watkins, W. C. Davis, J. Tomlin, Mary 
McDaniel, Jno. Sears. 

Section 26 — Wm.C rum. 

Section 27 — Sam. Grissom, Jno. F. Bond, J. B. 

Section 28 — Elizabeth Jones, J. W. Tripp, A. W. 

Section 29 — J. B. Gum 640 A. 

Section 30 - Charles Craggs, W. B. Neal, C. H. 

Section 31 — J. M. Andrews, Edward Gore, John 
Micklam, James M. Hardin. 

Section 32 — A. E. Field', G. W. Ranson, Dexter 
Curry, Mitchell Young. 

Section 33 — E. Pierce, M. V. Daniel, Isley 


Section 34 — J. C.Ade. 

Section 35 — J. Gamble, J. Pratt, W. M. Crum. 

Section 36 - Dan. Riner, D. W. Hilliard, R. C. 
Baker, G.W.Hibbetts. 

Section 3-4 — ( No new names ) 

Section 5 — Curry Conklin. 

Section 6 — John Conklin, H. M. Blunt, M. Shunk, 
J.P.Dick, D.B.Beander. 

Section 7 — D. Godby, Robert Conover, Mitchell & 
Mary Young. 

JOHN BLAKELEY HOME - north side of town. Mr. J. M. Blakeley, Etta Blakeley (Blunt), Mrs. Martha 
Mowder Blakely. Now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hodgson. 

- 13 - 


1891 ATLAS 


B. H. McFadden 
Henry Koke 

Mrs. Fred Walters 
Wm. Wallace 
E. A. Meyer 
H. A. Fager 

C. C. Mowder 
H. R. Bond 
Ira Davenport 
Mrs. L. P. Bradley 
Rufus Blakeley 
John Brent 

H. C. Beckwith 
S. Scott 
Chas. Williams 
Louisa Carter 
J. D. Perkins 
Geo. A. Crane 
Anna Crane 
M. M. Porter 
John Schultz 
J. R. Lane 
George McDaniels 
E. Drake 
J. H. Kramer 
J. B.Conover 
B. Boyle 

James L. Coggeshall 
J. M. Blakeley 
L. Hughes 
James C. Carter 
W. A. Wallace 

Frank Baker 
G.W. Coggeshall 
Thomas Ainsworth, Sr. 
John Leiding 
T. J.Conklin 
M. Tompkins 
T.T. Ainsworth 
Frank Pratt 
Mary Crum 
C. Davis 
C. W.Tomlin 
C. B. Wilson 
J. W. Root 
Thomas Conklin 
Catharine Conklin 
Elizabeth A. Shanklin 
Morris Sinclair 
C. Daniel 


The Sandburr Story — 

Mr. T. G. Onstot wrote that in the very sandy 
areas of Kilbourne in the early days, the main 
production consisted of sand burrs and fleas. The resi- 
dents can attest to the fact that sand burrs still 
flourish here today. These sand burrs were first 
introduced in Mason County in the fall of 1830. A 
traveler from Ohio approached 0. M. Ross who was 
then residing in his cabin along the Hlinois River and 
asked if he could camp there for the night. Upon the 
consent of Mr. Ross, the traveler unhitched his horses 
and fed them three sheaves of oats. 

The next spring, at this same spot, there was 
about a ten-foot square patch of grass which grew 
about twelve to fifteen inches high and when it 
ripened, developed pea-sized burrs. As the horses and 
cattle grazed here, the burrs got caught in the tails 
and the sheep picked them up in their wool. In this 
way, the burrs were shortly carried far and wide. 
Regardless of the soil in which they were dropped, 
these burrs managed to thrive. 

Found In Tracing Families — 

There were two families named Ashurst who lived 
in the same general locality, the Nelson B. Ashurst 
family and the John N. Ashurst family, who came 
from Tennessee to Saidora in 1833. John N. was the 
father of Rev. Elijah Ashurst (known for miles 
around). Phoebe Ashurst Schoonover (mother of 
Albert B. and Ida Schoonover Goben, mother of Mrs. 
Amanda Stout i. and Rose A. Ashurst Goben 
(grandmother of Irietta Johnson i. Then there was an 
Asher family (Kate Boyle Ashen and a Neal Hasher. 

Blunt Family Name — 

The Blunt family history has been traced back to 
an ancestor who went with William the Conquerer 
from Normandy into England. The family of "Le 
Blond" were so-called because of the "the fineness of 
their hair and complexion", the name was gradually 
changed to LeBlount. Le Blunt, then to Blount or 

— 14 - 






1 "'> MUI/K'« ' 

. ■ 1 



|-,4f,^l^.^>*»*9s?- - • " as(I'.";l /» - 



E 1 ■'<>'7i' '^r 







According to Gen. Ruggles, the first store in 
Kilbourne ( location unknown i was opened by William 
Oakford soon after the town was laid out Calvin 
Atterberry bought him out The names of Oakford and 
Atterberry are found in connection with various lots in 
town, one of which is the Amanda Stout home, 
formerly the Dr. Root residence. Billy Martin had a 
saloon. A. E. Field is listed in 1874 as a druggist and 
"dealer in notions". 

The Max Smith home west of the railroad has 
been the site of several hotels, proprietors — Mr and 
Mrs. C. W. Craig ihe was station agent of the 1880's, 
besides the hotel, Mrs. Craig had a lunch room at the 
depot), Harve Gum. The Charley Close family (also 
had switchboard, lightning struck the house, burned, 
re-built ) 

In 1902. the Kilbourne Independent states that 
Kilbourne had two churches, two livery barns, three 
grain elevators, a newspaper, telephone exchange, 
two physicians, one attorney, two undertaking and 
furniture establishments, drug store, lumber yard, 
harness shop, millinery store, butcher shop, two 
hardware and three grocery stores, restaurant, hotel, 
opera house, and two blacksmith shops. 

Times, wants, and needs of people change We 
trust these pictures and sketches may help you to 
remember downtown Kilbourne of yesterday, or to 
visualize it. if you are a youngster of 40 or 50 or less. 

This picture was taken by Bill Zirkle from the top 
of the old yellow grain elevator that stood just north of 
the present round elevator. We see the hotel, operated 
at first by Mrs. Barbara Hackman Garrett (later 
married to Ed. Smith), then taken over by Mr. and 
Mrs. Sherman Lane about 1910. Salesmen traveled by 
train, construction workers on various projects 
needed room and board, also show people, and a few 
"regulars", so. though it may seem strange to us. 
hotels and boarding houses were needed in those days. 
In later years the building housed several barber 
shops, served as a dwelling for a few families, and 
was razed around 1945. 

KILBOURNE HOTEL - Mrs. Annie Lane with flour 
still on her hands from baking. Beckwith and 
Comingore's Store next door. 

— 15 - 

Next to the hotel is the big bloclc building erected 
in the early 1900's by Howard Beckwith and his 
brother-in-law. Dee (David) Comingore, who 
operated a general store under the name of Beckwith 
and Comingore. When Mr. Beckwith left for Kansas, 
Roy Comingore took his place in the business. 

The upstairs hall served the community in many 
ways — a meeting place for the Christian Church and 
some of the Lodges, an auditorium for Christmas 
programs and other entertainments, Roy 
Comingores skating rink, and even a basketball court 
for one year when Harold Blakeley, Doris Scheuering, 
Earnway Dew, and Supervisor "Babe" Pratt played 
for KTHS. This space had originally been occupied by 
Ralph PuUen's Blacksmith Shop, the Boys' Boxing 
Club, a band practice room, and Charlie Closes Lunch 
Room. The building passed through several hands, the 
upper story was removed, and is now occupied by Bob 
Lynn and his business. 

On across the alley is the blcksmith shop operated 
through the years by Bingham-the Wagon Maker, 
Albert Bridges, Joseph Zirkle and son. Bill. The 
smaller buildings were used at different periods by 
several restaurants, Abe Sours and also Jim Cobbs 
Harness Shops, Dr. Damon's Office followed by Dr. 
Nicolay, and John Sutton's Barber Shop. 

About the year 1916, John Prief built the large 
garage in this block and sold implements and Fords 
until Tim Brent and Frank Hughes bought him out. 
After Mr. Brent's death, Frank and Glen Hughes were 
in the business with varying combinations of 
ownership. Later Glen took over and was dealer for 
Chevrolet and International Harvester Co. until his 
death in 1964. Glen was an enterprising business man 
and his territory extended from Topeka to Tallula. He 
specialized in service and parts and kept the agency 
here although this was becoming unusual for small 
towns. Today this is Huey's Garage. Stanley started 
his general repair business eleven years ago at the 
east end of town on Route 97, moving to his present 
location in 1966. His assistants have included Larry 
Collins, •Dutch" Dye, Ellis Pedigo, and Johnnie 

The taller dark structure in the picture is 
Draper's Store. Hiram S. Draper came with his 
family to Kilbourne in 1898, after being in the 
mercantile business in Chandlerville for some time, 
then in Missouri for four years. Mr. Draper built and 
operated the general store with the assistance of his 
children until his death in 1923 at the age of 83 years. 
The original place was one-story, but business grew, 
and a larger two-story building was erected in 1903. 
The old store was moved to face on 5th Street and was 
the location of the bakery beside the old post office 
picture in our book. 

Growing Kilbourne needed more room to handle 
crowds, and the hall above the store helped fill this 
need. It was the center of many activities — suppers, 
parties, and there were stories of nerve-wracking 
lodge initiations held there. A doctor and "The 

Kilbourne Independent" newspaper had space over 
thestoreat one time. 

As time passed, several eating places have been 
in this spot where Nelda Williams Justice and her 
daughter, Shirley, now serve short orders, wonderful 
home-cooked meals, and delicious pie. During the 
past few months the restaurant has undergone a 
"face-lifting" job and has been completely 
remodeled. Nelda's is the "morning coffee" shop for 
Kilbourne neighbors. 

The furniture and undertaking establishment of 
brothers-in-law Oscar B, Harris and Gay Blunt was on 
the corner next to Drapers. Mr. Blunt had the team of 
beautiful black horses that pulled the hearse. Mr. 
Harris learned the embalming profession in the town 
of Virginia before moving here in 1899. Many of our 
parents bought their first furniture, stoves, and wall 
paper from Blunt and Harris. 

Old timers remember that the Henry C. Ruggles 
Drug Store had been here previous to the furniture 
store. In later years general stores operated by Roy 
Goben and Myrtle Dew were followed by a filling 
station for some time. After it closed, the small 
empty building made an ideal place for Santa's 
headquarters one Christmas. For the last several 
years the community Christmas tree has been set up 
on this now vacant lot. 

In the distance, near the top corner of Craggs and 
Field, can be seen the Beckwith house, now the Roy 
Ray home. Bert Beckwiths lived here at one time and 
also his parents. Henry Beckwith bought the place 
from the Coggeshall family in 1896. They purchased it 
in 1884 from Cal Daniel who had built the house some 
time before. The Christian Church shows up very well 
and you can also make out Draper's "House of Seven 

ladies — Ruth Harris and Grace Sinclair (?). 
Windmill, pump, and horse watering tank placed at 
intersection of 5th and Walnut in 1905 by Village 
Marshal James S. Davis and George McWhorter. 
Funds contributed by townspeople, McWhorter and 
Young Hardware Store furnished the outfit at cost. 


Crossing 5th Street, there is the famous Craggs 
and Field Store In 1970. it is still the general store, 
owned and operated by Robert Prater with the 
assistance of veteran clerks, Eldred and Gilbert 

For decades, one particular Kilbourne business 
touched the lives of almost everyone in the area in one 
way or another. This was the Craggs and Field Store 
established in 1886 by Jesse Craggs and Henry Field. 
The cousins, "Jess and Hen", as most folks knew 
them, were twenty-one-year-old farm boys when they 
went into the mercantile business. They bought out 
Henry C. Ruggless stock of drugs, hardware, and 
school books and added groceries and dry goods. The 
original Craggs and Field Store was located on the 
southwest corner of the intersection of 5th and Walnut 
Streets, now the vacant lot that was at one time the 
proposed site of a new fire house. Jess and Hen tried 
working both the farm and store for a while, taking 
turns, one minding the store while the other farmed. 
When their trade demanded more of their time, they 
became full-time merchants. 

Craggs and Field, like most well-stocked general 
stores in a small town, carried such commodities as 
sugar, flour, salt, and "soup beans" in the bulk, 
usually in big wooden barrels. Potatoes, and 
sometimes flour, were bought by the freight car load 
and many families laid in a season's ..eeds directly 
from the car. There were no pre-packaged goods or 
even paper sacks then; they weighed the customer's 
order out into paper cones which they fashioned from 
brown paper. Coffee was ground in a hand turned 
coffee mill ; plugs of chewing tobacco were cut off a 
bulk chunk with a tobacco cutter; slices were cut 
from a big round cheese; and pickles were fished out 
of a barrel of brine. "Green " coffee was available if 
you wanted to roast your own. Jess and Hen brought 
the first baker's bread into Kilbourne, still warm 
from the bakery in Athens, shipped in big baskets by 
train. It was not sliced, of course, or even wrapped in 
waxed paper. They also introduced wire nails which 
replaced the old square-cut kind; for an occasional 
treat, they had some of that new white granulated 
sugar. In the clothing line, they carried high button 
shoes, gum boots, plow shoes, drawers, "overhalls", 
shirt bosoms, bustles, corsets, cuffs and cuff holders, 
celluloid collars, garters, suspenders, and yard goods. 
You could buy such hardware items as a wash board, 
glass, putty, a monkey wrench, cartridges, a milk 
pan, linseeed oil, axle grease, varnish, wire, rope, or a 
corn knife. 

One exciting night in the 1890's one of the biggest 
fires in Kilbourne's history started at the Court of 
Honor oyster supper in the McWhorter and Young 
building, destroying their hardware store and the John 
"Iowa " Daniels Store. As a precaution, Jess and Hen 
moved all their merchandise out on the street when 
their place was threatened, too. 

Near the turn of the century, Charlie Conklin and 
Henry Pierce put up the big two-story structure on the 
northeast corner of 5th and Walnut Streets. Sometime 
later Craggs and Field moved diagonally across the 
street into this new building. Records show that Jesse 
Craggs actually purchased the lot from Charles 
Conklin in 1906. 

Many people recall the big hall upstairs and its 
many community activities perhaps more than they 
remember the general store. It was in use as Conklin 
and Pierce's Hall before it became Craggs and Field's 
Hall. It served as a meeting place for churches, 
lodges, Farm Bureau, and other organizations; it was 
used for suppers, box socials, home talent shows, high 
school plays, play parties, an occasional dance 
(frowned upon by local church fathers'), or a medicine 
show if the weather was too cold for a street show. 
Countless good times were enjoyed in that old hall. 

Another social feature of the store was the "liar's 
corner" as they called the circle of seats around the 
big jacketed stove in the back. Any man with time to 
spare could find someone who would pull up a chair 
and swap stories with him. Many hours were spent 
exchanging gossip, chewing tobacco, and just seeing 
who could tell the biggest "whopper" 

Perhaps the most unusual and the most 
remembered feature of the store was the old 
revolving candy case. Made chiefly of curved glass 
panels, with one sliding glass section serving as a 
door, the round case could be twirled like a "Lazy 
Susan " by using the circular hand rail at its base. The 
shelves of candies made a tempting display and few 
children could resist giving the wheel a spin whether 
they had a penny to spend or not. No one has been 
found who has ever seen one like it, and its exact 
origin has not been determined. It was evidently a 
fixture of the store from almost the very beginning. 

The event connected with Jess and Hen's that 
received the widest publicity was their appearance in 
a March Of Time newsreel, in 1936. The producers 
selected Craggs and Field as the typical country store 
they wanted for their film. The cameramen moved in 
one morning, took seme pictures of business "as 
usual ", and moved out again almost before anyone 
knew what was going on. Kenneth Blakely and George 
Craggs, two local school boys, acted the part of the 
customers. What a stir when the word got around! 

In August, 1936, Jess and Hen invited about 50 of 
their relatives and old friends to celebrate the 50th 
anniversary of their partnership. The word spread and 
the small group of 50 developed into a crowd of some 
1500 people from 17 states who came to wish them 
well. A short program honoring Jess and Hen was 
organized by close friends and relatives and the 
■Virginia High School band made a trip to Kilbourne to 
play for the celebration. 

Henry Field retired in 1937 and sold his interest in 
the store to Jesse's son, Alva. Jesse and "Budge " 
continued the business as Craggs and Craggs until the 

- 17 - 

father's death in 1944. Budge then bought full interest 
and continued to use the name of Craggs and Craggs 
for fifteen years. 

The passing years brought changes — the old 
stove was replaced by a floor furnace; at first, there 
came white margarine with its capsule or packet of 
coloring, later, colored oleo appeared in the cooler 
next to the country butter; refrigerators took the 
place of the ice boxes, and then came a frozen food 
case. The fascinating old candy case gave way to a 
low showcase with a sliding glass door. 

Many changes had taken place in 73 years. But 
when Budge Craggs retired in 1959, it was still a 
typical country general store where you could buy 
hardware, hair ribbons, patent medicines, shirts, 
greeting cards, groceries, lamp chimneys, and 
treadle sewing machine belts. Children still brought 
grocery lists, then stood with their noses pressed 
against the glass of the candy case while their orders 
were filled. 

Amid all the changes, though, something did 
remain the same. Eldred Craggs, who started work 
for Jess and Hen in 1935, stayed on with Budge, taking 
over the meat department in addition to clerking 
duties. Gilbert Craggs began a few years later as part- 
time help for Craggs and Craggs, later full-time, and 
managed the candy and hardware departments. The 
two Craggs "boys", both distant relatives of the 

pioneer groceis, are still working in the same building 
for the present owner, Robert Prater. They have 
served three or four generations of many Kilbourne 
area families, and are very much a part of the store. 

Robert Prater purchased the Craggs and Craggs 
General Store in April, 1959. Since that time, some 
changes have been made to take advantage of modern 
food processing and packaging. The first and most 
obvious alteration was the introduction of self-service 
shopping. Later, a walk-in meat cooler and more 
space for frozen foods were added. 

In most respects, though, the store has changed 
very little. The stock includes hardware, dry goods, 
notions, and groceries just as it did many years ago. 
The business has been housed in the familiar building 
at the corner of Fifth and Walnut ever since Craggs 
and Fields moved into the structure. 

INSIDE CRAGGS AND CRAGGS STORE — Orlie Wallace, Clell Daniel, Orie Madison, owner — Alva (Budge) 
Craggs, clerks — Eldred and Gilbert Craggs. 

18 - 


This picture of 5th Street looking north was taken 
by Clyde Hobbs in 1943. The building on the right was 
first built and occupied by Charles E. Conklin and son, 
Homer — Furniture and Undertaking. For a time it 
was the Opera House, followed by several restaurants 
and now the Kilbourne Fire House. 

In the early 1900's sweet potatoes were grown 
extensively around Kilbourne and were marketed by 
the wagon loads in nearby towns and shipped by 

freight to Springfield and other cities. Alex Whiteley 
built the second building for his "Sweet Potato 
House", large enough to contain a year's crop, with 
heating facilities. The Upp Bros., Walter and Ada, had 
their butcher shop here. Walter remembers 
furnishing meat for the dredge boat crew on the 
Sangamon. Empty for several years, it was torn down 
this summer and is the proposed site of a community 

EAST SIDE OF FIFTH STREET - 1970 - KUbourne Fire House; vacant lot - proposed site ot KUbourne 
Community Center; Post Office; home of the Hodgson's - John, Charlotte (designed history book cover), John, 
Jr., and Joel ; Cecil Goben's Barber Shop. 

19 - 

FRANK DANIEL STORE in its early days. Austin 
Wright, Arleigh Conklin, and Frank Daniel. Another 
"whittling bench". 

Next comes the store of Frank Daniel, another 
longtime general storekeeper in Kilbourne. The three 
buildings that made up the Frank Daniel Store have 
been occupied by various enterprises — barber shops, 
the Epworth League Library, and the Sangamon 
Sawyer newspaper Before that, the F. M. 
Madison General Store (also the location of the post 
office at that time), followed by the J. W. Mitchell 
General Store. 

Frank began his merchandising career about 1904 
at the age of 24. Several individuals were associated 
with the establishment in the first thirteen years or so 

— his mother, -Grammy" Tillie Daniel, John Boyle 

— his brother-in-law (Bob Boyle's grandfather), 
Arleigh Conklin, and Isley Craggs. 

An ad in a 1907 Sangamon Sawyer indicates that it 
was a typical country general merchandise store of 
the period. They listed for sale (at 20-40 percent 
discount) the following; Overshoes, Leggins, Rubber 
and Linen Collars, Tinware, Corsets, Embroidery, 
Harps, Eye Glasses, and several types of yard goods. 

In 1917. Mr. Daniel became the sole owner. 
Harold 'Babe' Pratt began as part-time help while in 
high school and was connected with the store for 
sixteen years. Edmund Blake was clerk before that. A 
common policy of general stores at that time was one 
of keeping evening hours, weekdays until 8:30 or 9:00 

p.m. and on Saturday nights until everyone had gone 
home, often times rather late. 

Frank Daniel and Mabel Close were married in 
1913. They had two children. Wanda and Buford. Their 
home was joined to the store making it easier for 
Mabel to help in the business when needed. Frank 
retired in 1946 after 42 years of service to the 
Kilbourne community. Mr. "and Mrs. Daniel traveled 
for a time, visiting relatives in the state of 
Washington and South Carolina, then moved into their 
newly built home in Havana. 

J. A. Sinclair and sons of Oakford purchased the 
business and Herman Sinclair continued running the 
store until he and his family moved to California in 
1957. Robert Prater later bought the buildings and the 
new post office is where part of the old store stood. 
The John Hodgson family now live in the former 
Daniel home. 

their home connected to the store. Frank is holding 
granddaughter, Barbara Upp. 

- 20 - 


Our post office was established as a fourth-class 
office on October 15, 1872. Originally, the official 
name of this office was spelled "Kilbourn" but was 
changed to ■'Kilbourne" on May 21, 1892. 

During the history of our office, these people have 
served as postmasters: 


Joseph A. Brown 
Coridon L. Newell 
Charles A. Gore 
Henry C. Ruggles 
Henry E. See 
John W. Craig 
George F. Pierce 
Benjamin M. Stephenson 
Seymour Holmes 
Henry C. Ruggles 
Francis M. Madison 
Wesley Craggs 
Mr. Mintie Craggs 
Mrs. Fannie L. Prater 
With Mrs. Fannie 

Dates of Appointment 

October 15, 1872 
May 15, 1874 
June 21, 1881 
April 7, 1882 
May 8, 1883 
November 12, 1884 
Novembers, 1885 
Mav 3, 1889 
June 8, 1893 
June 18, 1897 
July 20, 1900 
October 1, 1906 
July 17, 1914 
April 17, 1942 
Stone Prater serving as 

postmaster, on July 1, 1944, the classification of our 
office was advanced to third-class. Because of this 
increased status. Mrs. Prater was allowed the 
assistance of a clerk, and Mrs. Elsie Eddy Beams was 
hired to fill this position on December 7, 1944. 
Recently Mrs. Mary Boyle was hired to work as the 
substitute dark. 

Through the years, the post office has been 
located in numerous buildings of the town until Robert 
Prater constructed the present structure according to 
government specifications for lease to the Postal 
Department. The facilities were first occupied on 
December 1, 1961. The official dedication ceremony 
was held July 29, 1962, and was attended by 250 local 

Rural Free Delivery is one service offered by our 
post office. This service was first tested in Charles 

■/ ; 

Town. West Virginia on June 9. 1896. The local service 
was introduced September 1, 1903, with Carl Hughes 
as the first Kilbourne rural carrier. 

In 1906, Postmaster Frank M. Madison was 
successful in his attempt to establish a second route in 
the Kilbourne area. Tim Brent was hired as carrier 
for this new route which served 115 patrons. There 
were 96 patrons on route number one. 

Leslie Conklin succeeded Mr. Brent as carrier in 
1918 and continued in this position until 1951. When the 
two routes were combined at the time Carl Hughes 
retired, Mr. Conklin took over the duties of both 

Hal Ringland, who has acted as substitute carrier 
since 1929, was appointed temporary rural carrier at 
the time of Mr. Conklin s retirement and remained in 
the position until January 26, 1952, when Harold 
Baker, who transferred from the Havana Post Office, 
was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

In the days when mail was delivered by train, 
Kilbourne received and dispatched mail four times a 

Nettie Carter (Sutton) and R.F.D. carrier — Carl 
Hughes. Mail buggy painted red, white, and blue by A. 
L. Wright. 

Mail carrier Tim Brent, postmaster and assistant — 
Mintie and Jake Craggs, carrier — Carl Hughes. On 
west side of 5th St., now the residence of Jennie Curry 

- 21 - 

day. From 1935 until 1944, Gilbert Craggs was mail 
messenger and in his nine years, did not miss one of 
the deliveries or dispatches. Other men serving in this 
position include Emery Goben, W. 0. Barkus, Arthur 

Smith, and John Clark. After train service was 
discontinued, the mail came to and left from 
Kilbourne by truck (star route), and today, our 
communications are still handled this way. 

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO "CARRY OUR MAIL" — Mrs. Elsie Beams, Clerk; Harold Baker, Rural 
Carrier; Hal Ringland, Substitute Rural Carrier; Mrs. Fannie Prater, Postmaster 

CLYDE and LESTER — We can see why Lester once 
won a baby contest. 

Did You Know — 

Residents of the famous Wisconsin Dells in 
Wisconsin go out of their way to pass through 
Kilbourne, Illinois, to mail postcards that will bear 
the postmark 'Kilbourne". Why? Because the 
original name of the Dells was Kilbourne, Wisconsin 
and the Kilbourne River is still one of the attractions. 

Did You Know — 

According to the Mason County history, post 
offices were located at Long Branch, Lease's Grove, 
Quiver, Crane Creek, and Fields Prairie. The first of 
these offices was established in 1859 near the home of 
Mr. Gum and was called Prairie. Albert J. Field was 
postmaster and the mail was brought in by stage 
coach. Today, there are no official postal records of 
the existence of these offices. 

- 22 - 

Probably the oldest building in Kilbourne. 

JIM COBB — Shoe Repair and Harness Shop. 

Last is Cecil Goben's Barber Shop with quite a 
history. It is traditionally the oldest building in 
Kilbourne. a part of it is said to be the early 
schoolhouse i also used for worship ) moved here from 
"the east line of the SW i of Section 28". The records 
read that Aaron Ray in 1847 sold to the school trustees 
for $10 the ground "where the schoolhouse now 
stands". This school could very well be the one built 
by Dr. Drury S. Field in the late 1830's. This has been 
the location of a pool room. G. W. Lancaster, the 
Jeweler and Bicycle Manufacturer. John Bahl's 
Poultry House. Jim Cobb's home. Shoe Repair and 
Harness Shop. and a beauty shop. 

A few folks can recall Peterson's Shoe Shop on the 
corner, now Mrs. Carl Barrett's yard. All ladies wore 
hats everywhere, even to picnics in Uncle Johnny 
Blakeley's timber, so we know that Mrs. Kitty 
Geisler's Millinery was a very important business in 
her home across the street, now occupied by Harvey 
Sisson and grandson, Stanton. 

Did 'Vou Know — 

Barber shops in Kilbourne had shelves for shaving 
mugs and each regular customer had a mug with his 
name beautifully lettered in gilt. 

DRAPER FAMILY HOME — 5th and Elm, built in 1899, 12 rooms, first furnace in Kilbourne. Remodeled by 
William and Alberta Draper Edwards, now the home of Donald and Betty Sisson Williamson and son, Mark. 
KTHS English students called it "The House of Seven Gables". Lumber yard at far left. Kilbourne lumber yard 
managers — Parrish, Wright, Walter Upp, Floyd Friend. 

— 23 

The south side of Walnut has been the scene of so 
many changes that it is impossible to name all the 
occupants. Some are as follows: 

At the east end of the block, now vacant, have 
been a bowling alley. Craggs and Field. Aneys, and 
Walter Dews Store. The wide red and green building 
has housed the G. J. Merrill General Store, the Gore 
and Madison Store. Seymour Holmes Store and post 
office, a drug store operated by A. G. Ruggles and 
later by Mr. Christman. and several restaurants. Next 
were Dr. Stevenson's office, Blake and Marcy Barber 
Shop, and the Independent newspaper office. The tall 
red building still standing was Shirtcliffs Butcher 
Shop (where Aunt Jane sold her famous lemon ice 
cream), poultry houses, and Dawson's Barber Shop. 
The Purkapile building was later a restaurant in 
charge of Mitt demons and then of Sherman Lane, 
housed the telephone exchange, was bought by Barney 
McCario and moved out on Route 97. Mr. and Mrs. Pat 
Lawson now occupy it. Huey's parking lot has been 
the location at one time or another of businesses 
carried on by John (Iowa) Daniel, C. E. Daniel, Mel 
Upp and 'Young, McWhorter and Young, Roy 
Comingore, John Bahl, Myrtle Dew, Paul, Floyd, and 
Clifford Friend, and Olof Lane. 

The west side of S. 5th street was the site of J. W. 
Hoke's Repair Shop and also of Charley Beardens 
Carpenter Shop, now the home of Frank Hughes. Dr. 
Roots office on the corner once held a barber shop, a 
cream station, and a poultry house, and now is 

occupied by Mrs. Cecelia Tarvin. Dr. Root once 
owned a grocery at the site of the bank, with Dee 
Comingore and Dean Godbey as his clerks. Dr. Root's 
Livery Barn made an excellent place for Frank 
Baker's implement business. Mr. Baker really had 
some good ads in the Kilbourne papers, such as, 
"Extra good merchandise at Montgomery Ward 
prices." Around the early 1940s crowds gathered at 
this barn for Paul Friends community sales; Hopper 
Lumber Co. made pallets there. They say Kilbourne's 
first jail was on the corner south of the old barn. John 
Stroh, Asa Watkins, and Lon Garrett plied their trade 
at their blacksmith shops at this corner. 


LANE'S LUNCH ROOM - Esther Lane and Gladys 
Blunt. Note wooden bread boxes, ready to be shipped 
by train back to bakery. "Visiting bench and stool". 

MITT CLEMONS RESTAURANT - on south side - serving dinners to Farmer's Institute visitors, 


- 24 - 


John Stroh (grandfather of EUeen Stroh Bell) - at work in his blacksmith shop on S. 5th St. on block south of Dr. 
Root's office. 


The blacksmith of days gone by was of great 
importance to the community not only as an iron- 
worker but also as a mechanic. His many skills 
included shoeing the horses, replacing wheels on 
buggies and wagons, painting buggies, repairing 
kitchen and barn utensils, and occasionally the 
building of a sled or buggy. 

In the history of Kilbourne, several men have 
fulfilled these varied duties in their roles of village 
smithy'. Included in this list are L. P. Darrell, S. B. 
Lee, H. P. Yardley, John L Ashurst (also press drill 
manufacturer), Stokes Edwards, J. T. Danford 
(specializing as carriage and wagon-maker), Routt 
Brothers (also wagon-maker), Peter Thornberg, Joe 
Barndollar. John Stroh. Albert Bridges, Joseph Zirkle, 
Bill Zirkle. Lon Garrett, Asa Watkins, Clinton Craggs, 
and ■Shorty" Eckstein who still operates his shop and 
will have a demonstration at the Centennial 

Did You Know — 

Farm horses had to have their shoes replaced 
regularly — this meant removing old worn shoe, 
cleaning and trimming the hoof, heating and shaping 
the iron shoe and nailing it into place. 

Did You Know — 

Kilbourne has had several doctors through the 
years — Doctors Drury S. Field, Mastick, O'Neal. 
Root, Eldredge, Stephenson, Mekinson, Darling, 
Damon, Nicolay, Cooper, and Robbins. 

Names — 

Young people have always been inventive about 
making up catchy phrases — they seem to be 
especially clever in using familiar names. Perhaps 
you will remember this saying which is made up 
entirely of local surnames — "Young Mann Dew 
Ketcham. Yoakum Upp Wright!" This little phrase 
was derived from the names of Kilbourne Grade 
School teachers — "Swing Miss Layman around the 
Post!" It honored Miss Martha Swing, Miss Essie 
Layman, and Miss Post. 

- 25 - 


Three firms stand out in the history of the grain 
business in Kilbourne — the Turner-Hudnut Company, 
McFadden & Company and Farmers Friend Grain 
Company. Two managers had long service — William 
I. Edwards for McFadden and Company and F. M. 
Madison for Turner-Hudnut. In the early 1900s there 
were six elevators within five miles of Kilbourne — 
three at Kilbourne, one at Conover and two at Long 
Branch. The 'north-end" elevator was built by 
Blakeley and Boyle, operated for a while as the Smith- 
Hippen elevator and at one time by a farmers' 
organization. The Farmers Friend Grain Company, 
Paul Friend owner, leased the Turner-Hudnut 
elevators at Kilbourne and Oakford in 1938 and later 
bought them. Ernest T. McFadden when retiring, sold 
his elevators at Oakford, Kilbourne and Conover to 
Leo Reiser of Ashland who formed the O.K. Grain and 
Feed Company. Then Friend sold his Oakford elevator 
to Reiser and bought Reisers elevators at Kilbourne 
and Conover. The three elevators, two at Kilbourne 
and Conover, are still operated by the Farmers 
Friend Grain Company, Ron Friend succeeding his 
father as manager. A far from complete list of 
managers of local elevators includes Joseph B. 
Conover, Marshall Conover, John C. Young, Melville 
P. Upp. Frank Baker, Edwin Blakeley, Harry L. 
Blakeley, Alva Craggs, John Boyle, his brother, 
Bernard Boyle, and others. 

FRANK M. MADISON — Grain dealer for Turner- 
Hudnut, early Kilbourne grocer and postmaster. 
Office just west of Kilbourne Hotel, "whittling 

MARKET PRICES - April, 1903 

Wheat - 58c ; Corn - 33(r ; Rye - 40(t ; Oats - 27e 
Eggs - 12c; Butter - 20c; Lard - 13c; Chickens - 7c 
Ducks - 7c; Geeso - 5y2C; Turkeys - 10c; Hogs - 6c 
Cattle -4 -6c. 

MARKET PRICES - February, 1910 

Wheat - $1 .00 - $1 . 12 ; Corn - 57c ; Oats - 45c ; Hogs 
8V4c; Beef Cattle - 3 - 4c; Hay (ton) - $20; Chickens 
12c; Old Roosters - 5c; Ducks - 10c; Geese - 9c 
Turkeys - 16Vzc ; Guineas (each ) - 25c ; Eggs - 17c . 

JOHNNIE YOUNG, Kilbourne grain buyer about 1896- 
1910; Cal Conklin, elevator man; John, Wayne, and 
Lloyd Young; boy on ramp is unidentified. 

WILLIAM EDW ARDS — Grain buyer and manager of 
McFadden elevator. 

Cow Peas — An Important Crop — 

In February, 1910, James Beams loaded a car 
with cow peas which were then shipped to his native 
home, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (What are cow 
peas? They are leguminous plants related to the bean 
family, formerly used in crop rotation to build up the 
soil, were cut, stacked, threshed for the seed, and fed 
for hay.) 

- 26 - 


In this age of automobiles, jet planes, and even 
moon flights, it seems a wonder that less than seventy 
years ago, Vellie Ketcham was a successful 
businessman operating a livery barn. In an 
advertisement of a 1902 "Kilbourne Independent." an 
invitation is made to the customers of Draper's Store 
to drive their teams to Ketcham's. feed them, then do 
their trading at Draper's and get a free feed ticket. 

Besides offering this "free-parking" 
arrangement. Ketcham's rented rigs to young men to 
go visit their girls and also to the drummers' and 
visitors arriving in town by train. Mrs. Mary Cobb 
Ketcham, his wife, served meals and provided board 
to many of these overnight visitors. 

VELLIE KETCHAM — proprietor of livery stable. 

* * * * 

Do You Remember — 

"The Store on Wheels " was an important feature 
of Draper's Store in the early 1900s. It was a horse- 
drawn wagon that made regular trips during the 
summer months four days each week into the country 
as far as New Lebanon, Peterville, and the Matanzas 
Lutheran Church neighborhoods. The children looked 
forward to the coming of the "Little Red Wagon ' with 
its supply of candy, oranges, and ginger snaps in kegs 
all decorated with big red roses. 

Paul Friend's Store also had a grocery wagon 
about three decades later. Both accepted eggs or 
chickens from the farmers' wives as payment for 
merchandise sold. 

* * * * 

Did You Know — 

Kilbourne housewives wouldn't buy butter from 
the store if they did not know who made it. The butter 
they turned down was stored in the back room and 
then shipped to Peoria 

Did You Know — 

When square-cut nails were scarce, the pioneers 
burned down old buildings to get the nails for building 
theirnew homes. 

Do You Remember — 

These names who have at one time been 
connected with restaurants and eating places in 

John Bahl, Edwin Blakeley, Emma Blakeley, 
Flora Smith Boyle, Loy Causey, Mitt demons. Jack 
Clendenin, Alonzo Close, Charles Close, Conklin 
Brothers, Isley Craggs, Hardy Davis, Marie Dawson, 
Martha and Ora Hardin, Mildred Justice, Nelda 
Williams Justice, Elmer Knuppel, Annie and Sherman 
Lane, Olof Lane. Marie Pedigo Huffman, John Routt, 
Clay Ruggles, Harold Sears, Gloria Shores, Ruth 
Smith, Ira Waddell, Russell Warner. 

BANK OF KILBOURNE - No record of dates. 

- 27 - 


In the earliest days our pioneer folk met in private 
homes for the occasional visit of the circuit rider as 
he made his rounds. Religious "societies'" or classes 
were organized and met more or less regularly with a 
local class leader, and now and then a visiting 
preacher. Later when the schoolhouse was built, it 
usually became the meeting place. We note that the 
ground around Kilbourne's very first school was 
deeded for the purpose of schools and worship by 
Aaron Ray, son of Moses Ray, the old-time "Hard- 
shell ' Baptist preacher who is mentioned as the first 
"messenger of glad tidings'" in this area. As 
settlements grew and people felt the need of a church 
building, it was sometimes shared by more than one 
group, holding services at different times. Saturday 
night meetings were not unusual. Besides being the 
place of spiritual inspiration and instruction, the 
church was also the social center providing a place for 
our ancestors to visit and have fun together. They 
worked hard during the week, and it was a treat to go 
to church and meet their friends and relatives, as well 
as to be renewed spiritually. They often enjoyed 
basket dinners after the morning worship (no 20- 
minute sermons in those days), sometimes on long 
tables made of boards or on tablecloths spread on the 
ground. These friendly get-togethers were bright 
spots in their long, and, many times, lonely days. 


Among the first preachers in this section of the 
state were the Methodist itinerants who were always 
found on the edge of civilization, Peter Cartwright and 
Michael Shunk. They traveled from settlement to 
settlement, holding services in homes, schools, or, if 
the weather permitted, in groves of trees. These 
"pioneer soldiers of the cross" were welcomed as 
ministers and as a source of news. 

Circuit Rider Michael Shunk is of special interest 
to Kilbourne because he was the father of our own 


deceased resident, Mrs. George (Clara) Craggs, and 
the grandfather of Eldred Craggs who has been behind 
the counter of our general store for 35 years. Rev. 
Shunk had the reputation of being a faithful pastor, 
scriptural and earnest in his preaching, prompt in 
meeting all his engagements, letting no condition of 
weather or roads keep him from his appointments. 
His circuit included such preaching points as Havana, 
Quiver, Dieffenbacher, Clark's, Leaf's (Peterville), 
Walker's, Big Grove, Field"s Prairie, Anderson, 
Fairview, Bath, and Matanzas. He was born in 
Pennsylvania in 1809, studied much "on his own ", and 
learned the carpenter trade and turning business. 
(When Mrs. Mary Craggs Friend taught at 
Dieffenbacher School, there were still cabinets in the 
basement that her Grandfather Shunk had made.) He 
was licensed to preach in 1836 and ordained in 184L 

Records of the Methodist Church show that 
"classes'" were held as early as 1864 at Hardin School 
with James M. Hardin as leader. Rev. J. G. Mitchell, 
pastor. Members were Martha M. and Ann M. Hardin, 
"Grandma" Jane Gore, Louesa Wright, Emily 
Edwards (Mrs. Stokes Edwards''), Julia Edwards 
(later married Dr. Mastick, after his death was Mrs. 
Neal Hasher?), Fanny and Pauline Young, Mr. and 
Mrs. John Vanetten, George and Lydia Thompson, 
May E. Robins, Isabel Mattison. Amanda Mattison 
(Mrs. Ella Craggs Beckwith's Grandmother 
Madison), Melissa Maynor, and later William Upp, 
Samuel and Hattie Jones. 

In 1874-75 classes were moved to the new 
schoolhouse in Kilbourne (on the Layman property) 
and we find in their old classbook the added family 
names of Ward, Goiter, Beck, Lee, Tripp, Parker, 
Phillips, Ainsworth. Baltzell, Mahan, Ranson, 
Blakeley, Morse, and Newell, with Samuell Smith as 
exhorter, Peter Pixler as class leader, and Jennie 
Anderson, song leader. In 1883 the group acquired a 
melodeon — a small reed organ. Later we find the 
names of Willing, Davison, Hall, Holmes, Bingham, 
Howe, Mitchell, Webb, Gladden, and Shunk. 

In 1887 the present church building was erected on 

- 28 - 

lots donated by John B. Gum. Serving on the building 
committee were James M. Hardin, William Upp, 
Charles and William Craggs. David Parker, and the 
pastor, Rev. C. F. Tobey. Rev. D. More was pastor at 
the time of the dedication. It is interesting to note that 
Walter Shunk, son of Rev. Michael Shunk, was Sunday 
School Superintendent for years. 

Rev. Howard Leach was pastor when the 
basement was added in 1914, C. A. Bearden, 
contractor. The spacious lawn with its stately trees, 
now gone because of age and storms, has been the site 
of many community activities, Memorial Day 
observances, picnics, tent meetings. The Coad revival 
in 1909 resulted in 125 conversions strengthening all 
the churches in town. 

The original church building has been well kept 
through the years and on July 27, 1969 dedication 
services were held for the improvements made 
possible by the generosity of Mrs. May Blakeley Lane, 
long-time, faithful and devoted member, through her 
bequest of a parcel of land to the Kilbourne United 
Methodist Church. Remodeling included an annex of 
four classrooms with wall-to-wall carpeting, walk-in 
closet, restroom, new entrance to the basement which 
had been completely redecorated, and enlarged 
kitchen with new appliances and equipment. Edison 
Sarff served as chairman of the project. 

Some of the later pastors include the names of 
Byus, Stotler, Wilson, Crawford, Maple, Fidler, 
Evans, Spencer, Gross, Sprecklemeyer, Foster, 
McGowan, Arkema, Laughlin, Davis, Wolfley and 
Geiselman. The Rev. Robert J. Martin is the present 
pastor, Wesley Curry is now S. S. Superintendent. 

To those who like little churches, with friends in 
every pew ; 

Folks who'll understand you, no matter what you 

Folks who grew up with you and knew your old 
folks, too. 

I like little churches — don't you? 

From annex dedication program leaflet. 


Many people still remember the Christian Church 
in Kilbourne, however, we have very few records 

According to an article from an old "Christian 
Evangelist ", the Kilbourne Christian Church was 
organized in 1907 by Rev. L. 0. Lehman of Havana, 
who held two or three revivals here. 

The Church directory of a January, 1908, issue of 
•'The Sangamon Sawyer " announced Christian Sunday 
School at 9: 30 a.m., preaching the 2nd and 4th Sundays 
at Craggs and Field's Hall, Rev. C. R. Gaines as 
pastor. The following S. S. Officers were elected for 
the year: Superintendent, James S. Davis; Secretary, 
Mary Young (Comingore); Treasurer, Mae Craggs 
(Sutton I. 

This is copied from an October 16, 1909 


newspaper: "Brother Gish preached to the Christian 
congregation at Beckwith and Comingore's Hall 
Saturday evening, Oct, 9, and Sunday morning, Oct. 
10, also at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon. At the morning 
service several new neighbors were received into the 
Church and at 2 o'clock P.M. the ordinance of baptism 
was administered to seven new converts at Hall's 

This item probably refers to the union baptismal 
service held by the churches after the Coad revival. 
The fine spirit of cooperation that followed this tent 
meeting held in the Methodist churchyard is further 
evidenced in the announcement that the next week a 
union social was held at Craggs and Field's Hall for 
all the converts with a program and refreshments. 
About the same period we read that three weekly 
prayer meetings were held in town, on Tuesday 
evenings by the Christian congregation at the Free 
Methodist Church, at the Baptist on Wednesdays, and 
on Thursday nights at the Methodist Church. 
Everyone was "invited to attend all these meetings." 

The approximate date of the dedication of the new 
Christian Church was 1910 with Rev. J. Fred Jones as 
leader. Brother Matthew Bollan of Havana and 
Brother Lewis Fisher of Cantrall were in charge of 
the communion service. The Church was a very nice 
building, complete with baptistry, side classrooms 
with folding doors, beautiful woodwork and floors, and 
lovely stained glass windows. Eugene Willing was the 
janitor and the official bell-ringer. 

A former member tells of a revival meeting in 
1910, during the pastorate of Rev. E. P. Gish, with 
Bro. R. B. Doan of Armington preaching and a young 
man from the Kilbourne Baptist Church, Austin L. 
Wright, leading the music. 

Services were held regularly until depression 
times came, families moved away, members passed 
on, and as happened in many once-active churches, 
the doors were closed. Several funerals and special 
meetings were held there after regular worship 
services were discontinued. 

The church and lot were sold at auction in 1946. 
The building was torn down and used in the 
construction of a parsonage by the Bishop Lutheran 
Church. Alvin and Dessie Bahls Hodgson bought the 
ground, built a house, and still make their home on the 
site of the Kilbourne Christian Church. 

- 29 - 


St. John's Lutheran Church, Bath, Illinois, began 
during the 1840"s when four children were baptized. As 
this area continued to develop during the 1850's, 
services were held and sacraments were 
administered in the homes of early settlers by 
itinerant ministers and by pastors serving a Lutheran 
congregation at Beardstown. 

The first resident pastor, the Rev. P. D. Dahl, 
arrived in 1860. He and his family lived about one and 
a half miles southwest of the present church and held 
services in his home. The first church building was 
erected in 1861. The first trustees, George H. Kramer, 
P. C. Mueller, Gerhard Dierker, and Hermon 
Penterman named the church "The Evangelical 
Lutheran Church of St. John in Mason County, 
Illinois. " It later became known as the Matanzas 
Lutheran Church. 

In 1882, a six-room parsonage was built on the 
north side of the premises. The Rev. W. G. Weissinger 
drew the plans and directed the work. The present 
church was erected in 1915, with Pastor H. A. 
Nothnagel supervising. He was assisted by the 
committee — Dick Bishop. F. Wm. Hahn, Dick Osing. 
B. F. Vanderveen, and Dick Spoede. The bell from the 
old church was placed in the tower of the new 

In 1925, the young people were confirmed in 
English; prior to that date, they were confirmed in 
German. Before this, a large part of the worship 
services had also been in the mother tongue. The 
minutes of the congregation were recorded in 
English, beginning about 1928. 

A principal tradition of this church was the annual 
Mission Festival, an all-day meeting with basket 
dinner at noon and special offerings for missions. The 
centennial of the Church was celebrated on October 
30, 1949. 

The Ladies Aid was organized in 1913 and has 
continued to be very active through the years. This 
group has sponsored many of the chief improvements 
of the church. Quilting is still the chief enjoyment of 
the regular monthly meetings. Other organizations 

include the Walther League (formerly the Concordia 
Society ), Men's Club, and Married Couples Club. 

Other resident pastors' names since 1960 include 
the Reverends Johannes, Kern, Ledebur, Fissel, 
Laible, Gottlieb Traub, Henry Traub, Horstmann, 
Schnelle, Balash. Lindke, and Kuhn. Rev. Arthur P. 
Schauer is the present pastor, 

"Every house is builded by some man; but He 
that built all things is God." Hebrews 3; 4. 


At the time of publishing of the Mason County 
History, Gen. Ruggles states that the Baptists in the 
Kilbourne area had "societies" that met in the 
schoolhouse and that Rev. Mr. Curry was pastor of 
this group. This is very probably the Rev. H. P. Curry, 
their second pastor, also mentioned in Mt. Zion and 
New Lebanon histories. He lived at Petersburg, is 
listed in his biography as a minister and a farmer, 
began preaching at 17. and in 1879 was pastoring four 
churches of central Illinois, was well known and 

The Kilbourne Baptist Church was organized in 
March. 1895. The first deacons were J. B. Conover. D. 
W. Parker, Hickman B. Samuell, and Joseph Zirkle. 
The first clerk was G. W. Clotfelter. Rev. George 
Hart was the first pastor, followed by our Rev. Curry. 
Rev. B. F. Drake, and Rev. W. F. Thompson. 

Family names listed in the early history of the 
church include Adkins, Beckwith. Clotfelter, Conklin, 
Conover, Field. Gipson, Goben, Harbert. Hardin. 
Harris, Hughes, Ketcham, Lampton, Parker. Pierce. 
Probst. Pulling, Samuell, Showalter, Sielschott, 
Sutton, Whiteley. Williams, Willing, Wright, and 

The congregation held services at the Methodist 
Church for some time, often meeting on Saturday 
evenings for worship and business sessions. Later the 
Kilbourne Hall was their meeting place. The following 
announcement from April. 1906 issue of "The 
Sangamon Sawyer" seems to clear up the question as 
to the location of the 'Kilbourne Hall" — "Rev. 
James Barrett will preach to the Baptist congregation 
at Conklin and Pierce's Hall" (the large corner 
building purchased that same year by Craggs and 
Field). They were affiliated with the Central Illinois 
Baptist Association. 

In 1903. feeling the need of their own place of 
worship, the members, numbering about 40 at this 
time, chose committees for securing a suitable 
location, for planning the construction of a building, 
and soliciting funds. Those serving were Rev. W. F. 
Thompson. J. B. Conover. G. W. Clotfelter. Joseph 
Zirkle, James A. Conklin. Henry A. (Bert) Beckwith. 
Arleigh Conklin. E. B. Ashurst. Louis Probst. Henrv 
and Lula Field, Grace Pierce Conklin, Bessie 
Conover, and Lena Harris. The structure cost $2000. 
Contractor W. E. Bowman did the carpenter work. 

— 30 - 

Mrs. Catherine Daniel Conklin donated ground 
for the church site. She and her husband, John 
Conklin, moved from a farm southwest of town, and 
bought the Kilbourne lots in 1882. He passed away in 
1884. 'Granny Katy Conklin" lived in the big brown 
house near the church until her death in 1919. Quite a 
number of her descendants were very active 
members of the church for many years. Rev. H. A. 
Hoover was pastor when the new building was 
completed Dedication services were held on October 
20, 1907. with Rev. J. J. Porter of Joplin. Missouri 
delivering the sermon. 

H. A. Beckwith was ordained deacon in 1909. H. L. 
Blakeley in 1914. Carl Hughes and Scott Sutton were 
licensed to preach during this period. John and 
Marshall Clark were ordained as deacons in 1945. 
Church clerks have been G. B. Clotfelter, Grace 
Pierce i Close), Lena Blunt Harris, Bessie Beckwith 
Harris, Parna Conklin Blakeley, Nina Sisson, Dale 
Van Etten, and Hazel Hughes, present clerk. Mrs. 
Blakeley served her church in that capacity for 39 


The Utopia Benefit Club (Ladies Aid) was quite 
active and gave financial help to the church for many 
years. The Woman's Missionary Society was 
organized in 1946 with May Hughes as president. 
Geneva Gebhards is now leader of this group that has 
faithfully filled White Cross quotas and kept up their 
missionary work and giving through the years. 
Impressive baptismal services, the young ladies' 
Dorcas Class, S. S. picnics, B.Y.P.U., and other youth 
activities are pleasant memories. 

About 1949-50 the Kilbourne Baptist meetinghouse 
underwent several improvements — basement, new 
furnace, the circle in the rostrum filled in and 
carpeted, benches and floors refinished. In the early 
morning of September 10. 1953. the building was 
struck by lightning and burned to the ground, 
however, the seats and most of the furnishings were 
saved. Services were then held at the high school until 
the new structure was completed the following 
summer with Zelmer Lane as contractor. The present 


building was dedicated, debt free, on October 10, 1954, 
with Rev. Willis A. Reed of Canton giving the 
dedicatory message. Rev. Russell S. Orr of the state 
office and former pastors, Rev. George Eilers and 
Rev. W. A. Ogden, assisted in the service. Rev. E. B. 
Williams was pastor during this trying period. 

In 1957, during the pastorate of Rev. Eilers, a 
Baldwin organ was purchased with funds solicited by 
Nina Sisson and Hazel Hughes, The congregation also 
bought new oak furniture, pulpit and four chairs, from 
a church furniture company in Blue Mound, Illinois. 
The Blakeley family gave the matching communion 
table in memory of Mrs. Parna Blakeley and son, Loy. 
The solid brass Bible stand was given later by the 
family of Lee Hardin. The first pulpit, made by Oscar 
B. Harris, had been in use for 50 years. Carpeting was 
laid in 1958. Balyki held their first kindergarten 
classes in the church basement in the school year of 
1965-66. Restrooms were installed at that time. 

Through the thoughtfulness of Jeanette Sutton, a 
parsonage was acquired in 1964. During the pastorate 
of Rev. Robert Peveler, he and members of the 
congregation made extensive improvements and 
repairs to the house and yard. Carpeting was laid on 
most of the downstairs. The parsonage is now 
occupied by the present pastor and family. Rev. and 
Mrs. Raymond Vow and Mark. 

The church school has always been an important 
phase of the work of this church. Johnnie McDaniel is 
present superintendent with Shelby Sisson in charge 
of the children's department. 

Some other pastors' names through the years 
include Bruggink, Butler. Belton, Phipps, 
Benningfield, C. E. Hughes, Bandy. McPherson. Day. 
Vance. Carpenter. Ballard. Neely. Fisher, McDonald, 
and Fanning. 

Did You Know — 

Oscar B. Harris painted the large screen still in 
use at the Kilbourne Baptist Church. It was rescued 
from the fire in 1954, in which another similar one was 
burned. Mr. Harris sometimes filled in a space with a 
mural when he was painting in a home. 

- 31 - 


On March 14, 1868 a small group met at the Baker 
School and organized the New Lebanon Baptist 
Church with Elder P. G. Clark of Petersburg as 
moderator and D. A. Adkins, clerk. The following 
persons presented themselves for membership: Mary 
Samms, Cynthia, Maria, Celah, Abraham, and George 
W. Estep, Josephine, Melissa, James, and Robert 
Hunley, Eliza VanAken. Lucinda Butler. Martha, 
Rachael, William H., and John Castleberry, Mary 
Crum Melvina Mann, John S. Gregory, Thomas 
Eaton, William Cobb, William Feattor. Philander 
Crawford, Edward Morgan, Asher Scott, and David A. 


Elder Clark was chosen as the first pastor: J. M. 
Estep, James Hunley, Harvey O'Neal, and John 
Gregory were the first trustees. The frame church 
was dedicated in 1869 on ground donated by H. P. 
Crawford and William Mann one mile south of the 
Baker School. The first individual to be received into 
the church was Nancv Ann Cobb. By 1874 we find these 
family names added: Duckett, Hawks, Yardley, 
Carter, Close, Robinson, Sickles, and Murdock. From 
the beginning the congregation was aware of the 
physical care of the building; William L. Cobb was 
hired as sexton for many, many years. 

In 1895, the New Lebanon Church assisted with the 
establishment of the Baptist Church in Kilbourne. 
Their regular missionary giving began as early as 1898 
when they sent the sum of $1.00 a month to a needy 
church at Newport, Kentucky 

Crane, Laura Snavely Carter, Anna Snavely Hawks, 
Edith Crane Walsh — in buggy, Lela Hines Snavely 

The church was closed for an eight-year period, 
from 1942-1950. Since reorganization, the church has 
done extensive remodeling, built a parsonage, and 
now has a full-time pastor. They celebrated their 
100th anniversary and dedicated a memorial to a 
faithful member, Oren Fairow. in 1968 under the 
leadership of the present pastor, Rev. Carl Fisher. 
Charles Tangman of Poplar City is now 
superintendent of the Sunday School. The main 
sanctuary is the original building, now over 100 years 


old. It still has the two entrance doors used in bygone 
days as one for the ladies and one for the gents. As a 
rule, the women sat on the south side of the church, 
the men on the north side. 

Pastors' names through the years include Blunt, 
Ely, Brown, Curry, Bell, Billingsley, Alexander, 
Drake. Mounce. Green, Hart, Morgan, Hicks, Duty, 
Caywood. Nichols. Branson, Benningfield, Ogden, 
Carl Hughes, Pittman, Shuflin. Harrison, Shipley, 
Reed, Asbury, DeVore, Pugh, Stout, and Munsell. We 
find the names of several lay members who filled in 
as preachers when needed, John Koch, IN. Holstlaw. 
George L. McDaniel, and Charles Shipp 

Generations have worshipped here and grown in 
spirit toward God and man. Procedure and equipment 
have changed through the years but some things are 
eternal and unchangeable — the goodness of God, the 
purposes of Christianity, the need for worship, the 
dedication of life, the blessedness of children, the 
power of prayer, faith, hope, and charity. 


This typical friendly country church, located 
southwest of Kilbourne in a beautiful quiet woodsy 
setting, is said to be the first Baptist Church 
organized in Mason County. 

On April 16, 1842, four men and eleven women met 
at the Ashurst School, and with the help of Rev. John 
L. Turner, organized the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. 
(We have found no one who knows anything 
concerning this school. According to old maps and 
early court house records, there was a school, not 
named, on the corner south of the church where Mr. 
and Mrs. Albert Riegel live. ) John G. Conover was the 
first church clerk. Their first pastor was Rev. Turner, 
who served for 10 years. Rev. J. H. Daniels followed 
and was pastor for 19 years. 

County records show that Thomas F. Blunt 
donated ground for the church and cemetery in 1849. 
The deacons" names on the deed were Louis B. 
Ashurst and Thomas F. Blunt. Evidently services 
were held at the school until the first building was 
erected at this time. 

- 32 - 

Family names in early church records include — 
Adkins, Ashurst, Bearden, Blunt, Bridges, Clotfelter, 
Conklin. Conover, Davis, Dew, Dewalt, Fancher, 
Friend, Gee, Herring, Jones, Olels, Rochester, 
Scholds, Wallace, Welch, Williams and Young. 

In their 50th anniversary year, the church voted to 
have preaching twice a month. In 1918 a committee 
was appointed for examination of the condition of the 
building. Upon hearing the report, a motion prevailed 
to replace it. Serving on committees for the project 
were Mr. and Mrs. L. G. Blunt, George Sielschott, W. 
S. VanEtten, Louis Sielschott, George Friend, Mr. and 
Mrs. Henry L. Clark, Ethel Friend Keest, and Edna 
Friend Conklin. Rev. G. W. Boyd was pastor during 
this period. Dedication services for the new church 
were held at an all-day meeting on April 27, 1919, with 
Rev. J. 0. Raines as speaker. The cost was $2400, 
which was soon paid. 

built around 1850 

Mt. Zion celebrated their 100th anniversary in 
1942. During the pastorate of Elder Carl Carpenter, 
1944-49, the church voted to have worship services 
each Sunday and regular mid-week prayer meetings. 
Three class rooms were added at the back of the 
building while Rev. Paul Davis was pastor, 1953-58. 

In 1964 a much needed parsonage was purchased 
from Clyde Blunt, great-grandson of Thomas Fisher 
Blunt who had given the ground for the building site 
back in 1849. The house had been the home of Clyde's 
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gay Blunt, after their re- 
tirement from the farm near the church. Rev. and 
Mrs. Leo Belcher were the first to live in the new 
parsonage. The present pastor. Rev. Don Ennen, and 
his family now occupy it. The place has been 
completely redecorated, paneled, and a new furnace 
installed. Cecil Goben is now superintendent of the 
Sunday School. Pauline Daniel Hamblin is the church 

Other pastors' names not already mentioned are 
Ely, Curry, Clark, Hartley, Blunt. Jones, Hart, 
Alexander, Mounce, Duty, Day, Ishmael, Claywood, 
Phipps, Branson, Benningfield, Ogden, Farris, 
Register, Stephens, Stratton, Shultz, Kenneth 
Thomas, and Carter. 

Mrs. Myrta Friend Sielschott was the oldest living 
member and attended the 125th anniversary 
celebration in 1967. Thus Mt. Zion Baptist Church has 

MT. ZION — TODAY — south side, cemetery across 
the road 

stood in this community for over 128 years where 
generations have worshipped and served the One who 
gave His life for all. 'For I determine not to know 
anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him 
crucified." Corinthians 2:2. 


Many people may not know that there was once a 
Free Methodist Church in our village, located at the 
corner of 5th and Locust Streets. According to court 
house records, the lot was obtained from A. S. 
Oakford in 1892 with E. A. Eddy, Leona Eddy 
(Edwards), and Caroline Comingore representing the 
church. Mr. Eddy was the grandfather of Dalton 
(Doc) Eddy and our efficient P. 0. clerk, Elsie Eddy 
Beams. Mrs. Comingore was the mother of David 
(Dee) and Roy Comingore, remembered citizens of 

An 1896 issue of the Mason County Democrat 
announced a 'protracted meeting" being held at the 
Free Methodist Church led by the evangelist, Mrs. 
Brewington of Springfield. The weekly directory 
carried in 'The Kilbourne Independent" in the early 
1900's listed the church as having preaching every 
fourth Sunday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and the Saturday 
night preceding, with Rev. Perry, pastor." An item in 
a 1908 "Sangamon Sawyer" states that 'Rev. Bersha 
Green, pastor of the Free Methodist Church filled her 
regular appointment at Kilbourne Sunday evening, 
preaching a good sermon." 

We found no one who remembers the closing of 
this church but records show that the trustees sold the 
lot in 1910. D. A. Yarnall bought it in the same year, 
remodeling the building into the house in which the 
Yarnall family lived for many years. It is now 
occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Tim Lacey, Timi Sue and 

Our pioneer forefathers knew that religion is 
needed by all people. They were faithful to their 
convictions and skimped in order to establish a place 
of worship. In the 1930s in our depression times, we 
know that it often meant a sacrifice to keep our 
churches going. Will future generations be able to say 
as much for us'.' 

- 33 - 




In this age of direct dialing, radio, and TV, it is 
hard to imagine living with no contact with anyone 
except by walking, horseback, or hitching up "a rig". 
The first telephones came into use around here in 
early 1900's. Several farmers in a vicinity would form 
a company, pay for and build their own lines, and 
install phones. Soon these country lines were joined 
together by a central switchboard in town. In 1903, 
Draper's Store advertised that they would switch for 
3c each time or three months for $1 .00. Later that year 
a 5C-drop switchboard was installed at Charley Close's 
Hotel, soon replaced by a 100-drop board which 
connected the Crane Creek and Jones lines, later the 
Oklahoma west of town, and perhaps others, with one 
toll line to Pekin. 

Other operators through the years include John 
and Effie Boyle, Orval and Edith Zook, Harry (Bus) 
and Minnie Howe, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Daniel. 
Pearl Daniel Craggs and husband. Isley, were with 
the Central Office when the dial system was installed 
in 1952, with Kenneth Blodgett of Bath Telephone Co. 
as owner and manager. 

The new dial phones were wonderful, and yet we 
missed the friendly personal contact with "Central". 
Many can remember times when Pearl helped in 
emergencies, giving first aid advice until the doctor 
or other help arrived. When there was serious illness 
in a home, we know that she and Isley slept with one 
ear open listening for a possible call in the night. 

A few homes were on two lines, one phone, with a 
switch to connect the lines together. This made it 
possible to call in on the other line in case you were 
unable to get through to Central because of line 
trouble. This free service was sometimes abused, as 
some patrons did not hesitate to ask their neighbors to 
switch them with other towns, thus saving the cost of 
a toll call. Some of these private switches were in the 
homes of Brady Stone, Oscar Blakeley. Bert 
Beckwith, Cal Wallace, and August Kolves. The Ewin 
Sears home had two phones, on Easton and Kilbourne 
lines; they had to "repeat " messages. 

For you young people of today, here is a bit of 
explanation on the use of telephones, B.D. (Before 
Dialing): By turning the crank on the side of the box- 
like phone on the wall, you called your neighbor's 
special "ring", such as one long and two shorts, three 
shorts and one long, etc. The bells of every phone on 
your line rang and there was no real restriction on 
listening in to hear what was going on in the 
neighborhood. To call a friend on another line, you 
rang one long for "Central", and told them who you 
wanted. In case of a fire, or if the operator was asked 
to announce a special meeting, funeral services, a 
show, or the like, they gave the "general ring", 
usually a string of shorts or several longs, giving folks 
time to take down the receiver to hear the news. 

In 1970, The Illini State Telephone Company is 
operating with 19 toll trunks at the Kilbourne 
exchange. These trunks consist of: eight two-way 
Canton operators; seven customer dials; and four 
free, extended-area service to the Bath exchange. 
Illini State is presently offering one-, two-, and four- 
party service in town and multi-line service in the 
rural areas. The toll service is direct distance dial, 
with operator intercept for billing. 

The future plans in connection with telephone 
service for the Kilbourne exchange is the following: 

A. Upgrading urban four-party service to one and 
two-party in late 1970 and early 1971. 

B. Upgrading rural multi-party service to four- 
party with the cable being buried in late 1970 and early 

C. Complete new central office equipment 
building to be located behind the present building 
located on N. 4th St. 

The approximate investment for the Kilbourne 
exchange for the years 1970-1971 will be $140,000. 

So although we may not recognize the answering 
voice when we dial for operator, we do know that she 
and many other workers along the wonderful network 
of telephones over the world are ready to assist when 
we ask. 

Do You Remember — 

When Kilbourne made the newspapers with the 
excitement concerning the UFO? 

Do 'Vou Remember — 

The earthquake of November 11, 1968, which 
shook the floors and in some places even cracked 
Do You Remember — 

Those murderous steep steps leading up to the 
Craggs and Field Hall? 
Do You Remember — 

The round-about route to Oakford by way of the 
wagon-bridge several miles east of town? 
Do You Remember — 

The trip to Springfield by way of Chandlerville, 
Virginia, and Ashland or the route through Easton, 
Mason City, and Greenview? 

- 34 — 


After several weeks of reading county histories 
and yellowed old newspapers, studying atlases and 
court house records, it means so much more now to 
read the inscriptions on the gravestones in our 
cemeteries. Before, they were just vague names, now 
they are real people. 

One of our oldest public burying grounds is Pratt 
Cemetery south of the west side of town about one and 
a half miles. The land was donated in 1855 by George 
Pratt. Since it is no longer used, this cemetery has 
been sadly neglected. Carl Hughes took great pride in 
clearing it off and keeping it nice. After his death it 
had little care (except for one small corner) until our 
energetic Bud Sisson spent hours clearing it off and 
making it presentable again. 

In the zig-zag rows of all types of markers we find 
many names that we recognize — G. W. Daniel and 
many of his family, a child of J. and M. A. Gum, 
George Pratt (donor of the cemetery site) and many 
other Pratts, Mr. and Mrs. John Ranson, William 
(Sr. ) and Isabella Craggs ( 1849 and 1857) and many of 
their descendants, the Field family, "Uncle Johnny" 
Micklam and his wife, Maria, the James M. Hardins, 
Corporal Comingore, Bernard (Sr.) and Frances 
Boyle, G. W., Myrta, and Frances Edwards 
Coggeshall, Samuel P. Angelow, and Mary (Craggs) 
Ireland. We see the surnames of Madison, Shirtcliff, 
Grimm, Lee, Gore, Roberts, Wright, Blake, 
Underbrink, Tankersley, Peterson, Hughes, Gladden, 
Young, Stilts. Hasher and Asher Probably not as 
familiar are the names of Setters. McCormick. Tharp, 
Turner, Kerns, Groves, Stevens. Leonard, Warren, 
Bedman, Hammond. Thompson, and Price. 

As usual in those earlier days, there were lots of 
tiny graves. The earliest burials found were John 
Young Sr. and his wife, Mary ( Daniel ), dates 1846 and 
1849. "Aunt Cora" Craggs was the last one laid to rest 
here, in 1957. 


Across the road from the Mt. Zion Church is the 
cemetery, the silent city of loved ones, friends, and 
neighbors. As you pass by on the highway, you can see 
the familiar names of Conklin, Blunt, Harris, 
Clotfelter. Kirk, and Bell. 

Walking reverently past markers, some large, 
some small, but all signifying that some one cared, 
you can see the names of Hill. Hobbs, Hardin, 
Ashurst. Keest. Beall, Miller, Lascelles. Sisson, 
Samuell. Pounds, and Murdock, On farther are the 
stones of Wallace. Adkins. Daniel. Lane. Hamblin. 
Friend. Sielschott. Riggs. Nix. Bridges. Shoemaker, 

Many of the markers are so old and weather-worn 
the names cannot be read. The oldest stone located by 

Pauline Daniel Hamblin, who collected information 
on this cemetery, was that of one Junis E. Rodgers 
who died in 1867. 

The peaceful quietness of this place is broken only 
by the songs and calls of the birds. In the winter the 
tall stately pines covered with snow makes one feel as 
though God himself has provided a cover for those 
resting there. People of this community still desire to 
be buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery. Loved ones 
remember to place bright flowers or wreaths on many 
of the graves until it does not seem a sad spot, but a 
place of reverence and comfort to folks who pass by 
and to those who attend services at the Mt. Zion 
Baptist Church. 


According to Court House records, ground was 
deeded by Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Mann and Henry P. 
Crawford "for the use of Church and burial grounds 
and no other forever" on September 12. 1868. The New 
Lebanon Cemetery plot evidently had been used as 
such for some years before. George Close had entered 
the land from the U.S. Government. 

We find among the inscriptions many familiar 
names, early and present day families. Among these 
are Seay. Beckstead. Conner. Koch. Cave, VanEtten, 
Scott, our Civil War soldier Manis Vanaken, Hunley, 
the Crawfords and the Manns, Moore, Lowrance, 
Burrell, Eaton, Carter, Hawks, Bailey. We see stones 
of "Grandpa and Grandma" Abraham Snaveley and 
and several of their family, Milleson, Yardley, 
Phelps, Russell. Watkins, Castleberry. Cobb, 
Adlington. Showalter. Lane. Crane. Crum. Elliot, 
Gilmore. Wallace, Baker ( nephew of Jesse ), Buckley, 
Holstlaw, Sathoff, Prief, Glakemeier, Jones, Pulling, 
Morgan and Van Eaton (grandparents of our 
committee member, Mayme Barrett). As usual many 
of the older stones are unreadable. 

There are a few smaller cemeteries in this area, 
that are no longer used. With no public graveyards in 
the immediate vicinity, we can easily picture an early 
settler choosing a favorite spot near his home as a 
final resting place for a loved one. 

One of the earliest of these is perhaps the Baker 
or Williams Cemetery northwest of the Baker 
School. R Roads have changed, timber has grown up, 
and many do not even know of its existence. County 
records state that "Chairlee" Williams deeded ground 
to the Jesse Baker Cemetery in 1885. The Baker 
family, the Stones, and others of that neighborhood 
must have used it for a generation or two before that 
time. Charley Williams and his sister. Bertha, were 
the last interments there. 

Jones (or Williamson) Cemetery is another 
abandoned burying place located in the timber north 
of the Dallas Drake home not far from the Jones 

-35 - 

School. Parker and Emily Hasher and Pearl Mastick 
(by guardian H, C. Beckwith) deeded the ground "to 
the public for cemetery purposes". This quarter 
section had been entered by Willard M. Mastick. 
Benjamin Mastick and John Williamson had owned it 
at one time. The Masticks, the Williamsons, and the 
Lanes are among the families who are buried there. 

Another of these small unused cemeteries is one 
northeast of the Dale Van Etten farm, quite some 
distance from any road. Having heard the family 
story that the Dolbins and the Morgans came to this 
country from Wales, were very good friends, and 
were buried together here, it is understandable that 
this spot was a "must" on our tour list. 

You can imagine the reverent thrill we felt upon 
opening a small gate (still in working order) in the 
iron fence around the family plot and touching the 
stones of Stephen and Mary Dolben (note the spelling) 
who had died in 1887 and 1885. 

To some extent we can picture the sorrow of this 
pioneering couple in a strange land at the deaths of 

their daughter, Margaret, who died in 1861 "in the 
25th year of her age" and of a son, Goodman, buried in 
1870" in the 18th year of his age". Nearby are the 
markers of Mary Ann and Wm. H. Morgan, great- 
grandparents of Mrs. Faye Smith Robinson of Easton. 
Among the dozen or so other stones are those of 
Margaret and James Yardley, dates 1857 and 1883, and 
of Henry Yardley, a soldier in the Civil War. The last 
burial noted was that of Mary McLane (mother of 
John McLane) in 1919. 

Their choice of this beautiful quiet spot, the tall 
old pine trees that had been set out so long ago, 
flowers and shrubs still thriving, make us love and 
respect the memory of these sturdy pioneer folk more 
than ever. 

Once in a while we find instances of strictly one- 
family buryings. Two interesting nearly century-old 
markers have probably been family-made, are neat 
and very well done, with the inscriptions deeply cut 
and quite plain. They tell of the deaths of two little 
Zirkle girls, Elizabeth and Emma, at four and five 


- 36 - 



Two unusual slab monuments of very early 
settlers stand just inside the center gate of the 
Kilbourne Cemetery. They are a type of memorials 
used in the 1800s and show scenes of the sorrowing 
family around the death-bed of the loved one. The 
abandoned gravestones were moved here some years 
ago from a neighboring burial ground. The body of one 
had reportedly been moved to another state, the 
inscription of the other is included on a newer stone. 
The names and dates are still very readable and are 
those of Edwin Gore and Maria, the wife of John 
Micklam, Sr. 

The Gore family, headed by Edwin and Jane 
Thompson Gore, were prominent in the early history 
of Kilbourne Township. Both were born in Scotland 
and married in 1843. They came to Kilbourne 
Township in 1845 and built a log cabin on what is now 
the Lloyd Sutton farm. After Mr. Gore's death in 1860, 
Mrs. Gore, always known as Grandma Gore, 
remained on the 210 acre farm. This was reported to 
have been the half-way house on the stagecoach road 
from Havana through Bath to Petersburg, probably 
crossing the Sangamon at Gum's Ferry, south of the 
present village of Kilbourne. 

A son, William, with a "wheel barrow full of 
goods", had the first store at Field's Prairie in a log 
cabin near the Art Kramer home. Another son, 
Charles A., with his brother-in-law, F. M. Madison, 
ran a general merchndise business in Kilbourne which 
they later moved to Havana. James Gore, another 
son, was also in the store business for a time. He was 
active in the life of the community and was a member 
of one of the early brass bands. 

Mrs Micklam and her husband, John, came from 
the state of Virginia, had eight children, one of whom, 
Martha A., married James M. Hardin. The Hardins 
established another pioneer Field's Prairie family. 
Mr. Hardin was the supervisor of Kilbourne Township 
to whom "and his successors in office " John B. Gum 
deeded the Kilbourne Cemetery in 1880. 

The first burial in Kilbourne Cemetery is said to 
have been Jennie Holmes, age nine years, who died on 
June 19, 1871, nine years before the official 
conveyance "to the neighborhood of the town of 
Kilbourne for their use as a cemetery " in 1880. There 
is also a story of a small baby buried before little 
Jennie but no record was found. 

May we suggest that some afternoon or evening 
you wander over our "city of the dead" and take 
notice of family names — "newcomers " as well as 
pioneers — and think how they have worked together 
to make our community a good place to live. 

In conclusion, may we share with you a clipping 
from a 1956 Democrat. The item stated that between 
600 and 700 persons had gathered on May 30th at the 
Kilbourne Cemetery and at the Methodist Church in 
the afternoon for refreshments and visiting. 

The peaceful attraction of the Kilbourne 
Cemetery on Memorial Day was once described with 
gentle understanding by Wilford J. Kramer, a former 
home town boy, the son of Clarence and Nada Phillips 
Kramer. He was then an editorial writer for the 
Illinois State Journal and told in this article that he 
had been to the cemetery "to brush fingertips once 
more across the chiseled stone which watches over 
the family plot. 

"The annual visit to the graveyard brings past, 
present, and future into sharp focus. Family groups, 
visiting with the caretaker, discussing with the self- 
importance of the living how peaceful is the 
campground of the dead, are brought closer together 
by communion with their common heritage. 

"No one is immune to the influence of those who 
have gone before us. We realized this as we ended our 
call. Looking back we saw Gene Willing, Kilbourne 
Cemetery custodian, making his way to his son's 
grave. The boy died of a heart attack while playing 
basketball. Mr. Willing reached the grave and with 
great gentleness swung a sprinkling can over the 
flowers which grew there." 

Did You Know 

The only man to have a Kilbourne street named 
for him was Eugene Willing. The east and west street 
past the cemetery was named for him in honor of his 
untiring interest and effort in improving the 
Kilbourne cemetery. 

Did You Know — 

According to General Ruggles — "Uncle Johnnie" 
Micklam was born in London in 1796, was a tobacco 
dealer in the state of Virginia, came here in 1845; was 
a true type of old English gentleman. 

Do You Remember — 

The Methodist Church bell was tolled at the news 
of a death of a Kilbourne resident, one time for each 
year of the age of the person. 
* * * * 
Another 'old-time' Anecdote 

William Asbury "Az " Wallace, 1846-1927, (father 
of John I. Wallace and step-father of Frank Baker) 
worked when a young man for a Daniel on Field's 
Prairie. Mr. Wallace helped track on foot their herd of 
Texas Longhorn cattle that had stampeded in a snow 
storm; found them two or three miles away, going in a 
circle fenced in by high drifts; had to dig them out. 
Mr. "Az " Wallace hauled ear corn in sacks to Bath in 
a wagon pulled by two teams of oxen and loaded it on a 
river boat. 

-37 - 


The rairroad through Kilbourne came soon after 
the platting of the town by John B. Gum in 1870. It was 
chartered in 1869 as the Springfield and Northwestern 
Railroad to run between Springfield and Havana, 
where it connected with the Illinois River Railroad, 
already in operation from Jacksonville to Pekin. 
Construction started at Havana in 1870 and by 1871 had 
crossed the Sangamon River into Menard County. 

When the road was extended from Springfield to 
St. Louis, it became the Chicago, Peoria, and St. Louis 
Railway; the line between Havana and Jacksonville 
was called the Jacksonville branch. The C P & St. L 
had many ups and downs and was repeatedly thrown 
into bankruptcy. In its prime, six passenger trains and 
two local freights (also carrying passengers) ran 
through Kilbourne. Later, when automobiles came 
along and passenger traffic dwindled, medium-sized 
and even small gasoline-electric motor cars were 
used for passenger service. 

Train from "way back when". There is a story that a 
film company bought an old CP & ST.L engine to use 
in their movies. Perhaps this very one? 

Its present owner, the Chicago and Illinois 
Midland Railroad, is identified with the Peabody Coal 
and Commonwealth interests. It rebuilt the roadbed, 
purchased modern rolling stock, and operated in such 
a modern manner that it was classed as one of the top 
notch railroads in the country. Today, it handles 
mostly coal which is loaded at the coal docks at 
Havana for shipment to Commonwealth Edison 
Company at Chicago, and some to the same 
company's power plant at Powerton. The coal drags 
are too long for the old side-tracks so trains go in one 
direction at a time. As there are no meeting places, 
agent-operators are not needed and all stations except 
Pekin and Springfield have been discontinued. 
Passenger service died several years ago as 
elsewhere in the country. 

Edward H. Bigelow was the first agent. Later 
there was George Craig, whose wife ran a hotel across 
the street and a lunch room in a corner of the waiting 
room. Frank L. Doxstader was a popular resident in 
the 90's. Frank L. Draper developed so much 
passenger business in the 1900's from Kilbourne to the 
southwest that the town was made a regular stop for 
the fast trains. Other agents were Lawrence Savage, 
Perry McComas, Robert Pilcher, the genial Cleve 
Beard, ending with William Wallace, now a 
dispatcher at Springfield. 

In early days most small boys were railroad fans 
but with the coming of automobiles ceased to worship 
the trains and trainmen. The last of these railroad 
buffs was George Crane who knew every locomotive 
by the sound of its whistle and was a friend of every 
engineman, conductor, and brakeman. 

GEORGE CRANE and his first love - "Old No. 
and all the rest of the train engines. 

Did You Know — 

When there was big news like a national election 
or a prize fight in the days before there were radios, 
the men made up a purse of $10 and hired Frank 
Doxstader, the station agent, to take it off the 
telegraph wire. 

- 38 - 


Frank L. Draper who served as Kilbourne mayor 
and also as station agent for more than a quarter of a 
century was also known as the "professor" of a one- 
man school. Realizing that Kilbourne offered few 
career opportunities for a young man unless he could 
join his father in business or farming, Mr. Draper set 
about educating at least one young man a year in the 
duties of a station agent. 

Mr. Draper became station agent in Kilbourne for 
the Chicago, Peoria and St. Louis Line in 1898. It 
became his habit to invite one promising boy at a time 
to come to the station in his free time and receive 
training in dispatching trains, keeping records, 
making reports, and learning to operate the 

CHARLEY TACKMAN inside depot. 

By 1924, Frank Draper had trained twenty-seven 
boys to function as station agents. Each of his 
"graduates" was able to go directly into a responsible 
position with the railroad and many of them made this 
their life work. This was advantageous to the railroad 
as well as to the boys, as the railroad needed capable, 
well-trained men just as the young men needed 
promising, well-paying jobs. 

Two of Draper's trainees were his brothers, R. N. 
Draper and M. H. Draper. Both brothers stayed with 
the railroad and worked into positions of 

Some of the boys trained by Mr. Draper left the 
railroad altogether to go into farming, 
merchandising, medicine, and other fields but most of 
them worked with some phase of the railroad as their 
life's career. 

Frank Draper's training program was a unique 
project which he conceived and carried out on his 
own. The young men of Kilbourne were lucky indeed 
to have such an opportunity available to them. 

OLD C.P. & ST. L. DEPOT — 1911, station agent, 
Frank L. Draper standing by express truck. 

NEW C&IM DEPOT — Home of John and Jeanette 
Sutton in background, now Kilbourne Baptist Church 

- 39 - 


General James Ruggles' HISTORY OF MENARD 
AND MASON COUNTIES has proved most valuable 
to the Centennial researchers in establishing 
important dates and facts. But it has taken the brittle 
and crumbling issues of old Kilbourne newspapers to 
turn these pioneers into real people who bought and 
sold, visited among neighbors, attended plays, ball 
games and church suppers. 

The weekly newspaper recorded deeds which 
would never reach the history books, thus filling many 
gaps in local history. 

Unfortunately, no file of the Kilbourne papers 
were preserved. However, in 1954, the late Jenny 
Anderson prevailed upon Frank Madison to take '"a 
bunch of old Kilbourne papers" which had been 
accumulated by the late Harriett D. Newell. They 
included scattering copies of Independents, from the 
very first issue, and Sangamon Sawyers from 1902 to 
1908. Thrown into a strong metal box, they lay unused 
except for occasional research by Kilbourne High 
School students. They were invaluable in writing the 
Kilbourne chapter of Ruth Wallace Lynns 'Prelude 
to Progress" but when the Centennial research began 
they were in constant demand by this books 
compilers and they were a big help to Hallie Barker 
Hamblin in recreating pictures of early-day Kilbourne 
in her weekly centennial column, "Kilbournes 
Century of Sand" in the Mason County Democrat. 


successful advertising 
eventually retiring in 

Kilbourne Independent 

"Boy-editor" of The 

In 1880, the members of the Kilbourne Literary 
Society were taking turns penning their own paper. 
The paper was filled with scientific, religious and 
temperance education plus news of local interest. 

In one issue, the scribe admonishes the readers 
that "Ruggles & Fields keep a full stock of toilet soap 
and there is no excuse of you going around dirty". 

On October 10, 1902, a seventeen year old 
Kilbourne citizen furnished the growing village its 
first weekly printed newspaper. "The Kilbourne 
Independent" was printed in Petersburg. In the 
September 25, 1903 issue, Madison announced the sale 
of the "Independent" to an experienced editor, 
Charles H.Hale, of Tallula. 

Madison went on to a 
career in New York City, 
Florida until his death in 1967. 

Mr. Hale brought his own printing plant to 
Kilbourne and published the weekly "Sangamon 
Sawyer" until his death on December 31, 1914. 

Mrs. Esther (Lane) Bastion of Auburn, Illinois, 
furnished the Centennial researchers a copy of "The 
Kilbourne News" dated October 22, 1915; and there is 
a scrap of an issue dated 1916. The heading reads "D. 
F. King, Publisher. Co-operation— Interpendence: 
Boost your community and you rise with it." 

The newspapers published near the turn of the 
century made liberal use of the editor's opinions of 
almost everything from the delinquent subscribers to 
the financial positions of the town's citizens. 

Purchases of horses, buggies or land was 
considered news and printed as such. When all the 
news, opinions and advertising still did not fill the 
space, tall tales were sometimes concocted such as 
local citizens killing bears in areas where none were 
known to exist. 

Other times the news was set to rhyme, such as 
the following from the November 8, 1902 "Kilbourne 


Milton demons to Havana went 

And almost all his money spent. 
Carl Hughes a horse has bought. 

And no one has the smallpox caught. 
J. W. Mitchell has got a car 

Of the fine Gold Medal Flour, 
And Andy Damarin was shaking hands 

With the voters to beat the band. 
J. C. Conklin is repairing his house. 

Frank Sherman's large production of Faust 
Will be at the hall next Monday night. 

Ruggles' building is a pretty sight 
Since the painters have done their work. 

Bruce Eddys nose was seriously hurt 
With a spade on Monday last. 

The November election now is past. 
Vin Turner of Pekin was down 

Taking in the sights of the little town. 
Barney Boyle Sr. was visiting his son. 

40 - 

Work on Cal Daniel's house has begun. 
Rev. Sperry preached Sunday night. 

Harry McWhorter's house was painted white. 
Fred Mercer splashed some lime in his eye, 

And the people are going to try 
To incorporate our little town. 

The passenger train that is south bound 
Was five minutes late the other night. 

The rain here Tuesday was very light. 
Bruce Eddy was shot Hallowe'en as a joke, 

And the Editor for once is broke ! 


On June 25, 1964, the Mason County Democrat 
gave a full page to the feature story about the James 
Henry and Sarah Cannon Davis family. Mr. and Mrs. 
Davis who farmed near Long Branch and later west of 
Kilbourne, were the parents of sixteen children — 
nine sons: William Goldsby, Thomas Edward, Ripley 
Elder, James Steven, Nelson Jessie, Oscar Rufus, 
Benjamin Bowman, Bert, and John Harry; and seven 
daughters; Mary Jane (married Joshua Showalter), 
Frances Minerva, Emma Senora, Carolina, Martha 
Ellen, Eva Ethel (married George Henry Lippert), 
and Bertha Kitty (married William Lippert and later 
Hurley Hopper). At the time this article was written, 
it was reported that the couple had 400 living 
descendants and many still reside in Mason County. 

A family photograph taken in 1906 pictured 
representatives of six living generations of the family, 
including Lucinda Kirby Watkins, Temperance 
Watkins Cannon Hillyer, Sarah Cannon Davis, Mary 
Jane Showalter, Bessie Showalter Ashurst Elliott, and 
Lloyd Ashurst. 

Kilbourne descendants of this family include Mrs. 
Orpha Showalter Curry; her daughter, Mrs. Bo Elda 
Curry Huey; her daughters, Kathleen Huey Butler, 
Cheryl Huey, and Linda Huey; Mrs. Verla Brent, 
granddaughter of Mrs. Iva Foutch; and Mrs. Brent's 


The late John Oilers is probably the only 
Kilbourne person to have his name mentioned in a 
New York newspaper. The Pekin Daily Times carried 
an item concerning Mr. Oilers, their oldest "carrier 
boy", who, with his dog 'Brownie ", made the route 
each day rain or shine. Soon after, Ernest Madison 
saw an editorial in a New York paper censuring our 
nation's citizens who will not try to help themselves. 
The editor cited John Oilers, in his 80's and with a 
decided visual handicap, yet was working every day 
carrying papers. Mr. Oilers carried the Pekin Daily 
Times for about four years, retiring in 1963. Mr. and 
Mrs. Oilers celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary 
before his death in 1967 at the age of 87. Our 
townspeople say that Mr. Oilers was one of the most 
dependable carriers that Kilbourne has ever had. 


Everyone talks about the weather, particularly 
"unusual" or 'extremes". Especially well 
remembered may be the following; 

1830-31 — 'The Deep Snow " was so memorable 
that our early forefathers reckoned all important 
events before or after the deep snow. It started 
snowing in December, 1830, and continued until nearly 
four feet on the level and remained for three months 
or more. Much of the game froze to death and many 
people almost died. Lots of families suffered from 
scarcity of food. 

1837 — "The sudden freeze" — In November of 
1837, the weather became rather warm, then came a 
drizzling rain, melting some of the snow, when it 
suddenly turned cold causing untold misery and 
hardships. Remember — there were no weather 
forecasts in 1837! 

1904 — A tornado blew a train off the track just 
south of Kilbourne. 

1911 - On November 11, 1911 - 11/11/11 — 
occurred the tornado that destroyed several homes 
and buildings in Crane Creek Township, some damage 

1913 — In March, 1913, the debris piled against the 
railroad bridge by high water, caught fire and 
damaged the bridge. 

1920 — The snow on Easter Sunday kept all the 
country folks from attending Easter services! 

1926 — High water of that spring closed the road 
south of Havana. 

1936 — Cold, cold winter!! 

1936 -Hot, hot summer!! 

1943 — High water caused some damage to the 
hard road across the Sangamon River. 

1964 — About 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, 1964, a 
tornado made a swath through our village taking down 
trees, antennas, and anything else unfortunate enough 
to sit in its path. Homes, automobiles, and crops were 
damaged, but by some miracle not one person was 
seriously injured. In time, the rubble was cleared 
away, the homes were repaired, and most traces of 
the damage were gone, but it was a day we will not 
soon forget. 

Stage Coach Route — 

The main line of the stage coach road from 
Petersburg to Havana cut across Kilbourne Township. 
Crossing at Miller's Ferry, not far from the site of the 
old wagon bridge, it ran cross country, south of New 
Lebanon Church, past Peterville, and on to Havana. 
The "catty-cornered " part of Route 97 into Havana 
follows this old stage coach route. A low place on the 
farm of Emma Umland Keith's Grandfather Koke 
provided a watering place for the horses and drivers 
stopped at Peterville to feed their horses at noon. 
Tracks still visible in Cuddy Wallace's pasture are 
said to be the old stage coach road. 

- 41 

\,y/2j^ ^^^^Z^?7^..x.^K/ Cyt<^>^z<y9^o^ 



Goben, John and Glenn 

Mother of Ruth Harris 


— grandparents of Cecil and Wesley Curry and Mrs. 
Sybil Cave of this community. Mr. Curry served three 
years in Civil War. 


VERA UPP — well-known little lady of Kilbourne, 
descendant of the Field family of Field's Prairie 

- 42 — 

I Mrs. Kitty Samuell Geisler, Mrs. Lydia Blunt Samuell 
(90), Mrs. Melinda Root, Mrs. Jane Shirtcliff, Mrs. M. 
A. Draper (78). Standing in doorway — Mrs. Margaret 
Friend Maseman, Mrs. Smith 

mode of transportation 

YOUNG GENTLEMEN OF KILBOURNE - 1899. 1st row - Will Craggs, Roy Craggs, Orie Madison. 2nd row 
— Walter Upp, Milton Draper. Standing — Eugene Willing, Homer Conklin, Jim Conklin, Frank Beck, Austin 
Wright, Frank Daniel, Frank Close, Edgar Daniel. Taken on depot platform, depot and elevator in background. 

43 - 


A Kilbourne home that has not changed too much in 
some 80 years — The Coggeshall, then Beckwith, now 
Roy Ray home. Note the iron fence I 

CARL HUGHES — One of the first cars in Kilbourne 

GRANDPA WILLIAM CRAGGS and his grandchildren, 14 more later! 

— 44 — 

GOBEN FAMILY — 1st Row — Ricbard M. Goben, Nancy Ellen Williams Goben, Blancbe Gregory. 2nd Row — 
Ethel Summers, Hazel Hugbes, Gladys Kramer. 3rd Row — Addie Sears, Roy P. Goben, Cecil Goben. 


Did You Know — 

Jordan School was once located on the east side of 
the Jordan Ditch about one-half mile south of the 
Adolph Sielschott residence. The Mary J. Blunt heirs 
gave ground for this location. Ethel Friend Keest 
remembers walking the foot board across the ditch to 
get to school. It was later moved to the present Louis 
Johnson corner. 

Do You Remember — 

Neat piles of wood all ready to carry in to fill the 
wood-box on the porch or behind the big kitchen 



45 - 

CLARK FAMILY AND HOME — Daniel Clark, Ida, Grover, George, Lora Clark Pratt, John, Frank Pratt, 
Emma, Ross, Catherine Chaney Clark, and Edgar 

in Colorado 

FRANK BAKER — Kil bourne implement dealer 

- 46 


FRANK WHITELEY — with his calf-drawn carriage 

BLAKELEY FAMILY — 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Scott Blakeley, at their home 2 doors 

south of Havana Library. 

1st row — 4 small boys — Charley, Ollie, Walter, and Earl Blakeley. 

2nd row — Scott Blakeley, Edith Blakeley Prettyman, Mabel Keest Bramlet, Cora Blakeley Keest, daughter 

Nellie Blakeley Rengstorff, Gertie Blakeley Walker, Dallas Drake. 

3rd row — Daisy Blakeley Hill, Oscar Blakeley, sons Edwin and Rufus Blakeley, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Scott 

Blakeley, daughter Emma Blakeley Drake, Herbert and Clarence Drake. 

- 47 - 

The crowd that attended a celebration on November 25, 1918 in honor of Corporal Everett Buckley, son of Mr. 
and Mrs. T. W. Buckley of Kilbourne (Mr. Buckley was manager of the Tumer-Herget land m the Sangamon 
River bottoms for 36 years.) The "Spanish Influenza" epidemic broke out in this area soon after this event. 




ha ,' diponltd in the GENERAL LAND OFFICE of I 

tnhtrelni it apptari that full paymmt has keen niade by the mid _, _____^_ ■_'/ y 

according to the pnmnont of the Ad of Omgreuof the iith of April, 1850, mlitled " An Atl making fiirlher proviaion for the lale of the Public Landl" far/fl^ ■UVjU/'-^ /uZ^^ 

To all to wham these Presents shall come. Greeting: 

' of the Vniled Statu, aCerlUiea/e of the REGISTER 

(!^/viAj tJ%« y6&, 


at >^'\Ayi zy^^'^/aix,^::^ 

yie-^^^^j^<2^ <^' «^-i-i<i--L^ 

'^uJ-jCj. '^^^y-^'iy^ ^, e^^^^^^^cy^c^y £Xy(f^i^^cf^ C2&<Au/,. 

according loAhe official plat of the mrvet/ of the mid Lands, returned to the General Land Office by the SURVEYOR SEKERAL, tahich laid tract has been purchated by the mid 

\^ «>'^1(^;Z^~ • ^**^ KNOW YE, That the 

VJTMTBB STJTBS OF JVKBRICJ, in cotuidenlion of the Premita, and in ^formity teith thejeveral acta of Congrea, in auch caae made and provided, HAVE GIVEN AND GKANTED, 

md Jy Ihae pramla DO GIVE AND GRANT, unto the said 

*r-^ ^r:^i^^:i 

and to f-Ui-' hcirt, Ike aaid tract above detcrihe^: TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the aame, together icith all the rights, privilege.^ immunitiea, and apptirtmancea of mhalaoecer nature, thereunto 

belonging, unto the aaid 

"^^^cr/l-i^ J^c-^-^ , 

and to ">/ '_j, '' heirs awl nsai^m forever. 


IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, ^^i'tj^ A-'L^Oz^ ^^^,>A^-,d. i^ :. -. 

^^QlQSaiDIBST'if ©B* 'ffilHia 19^3^1BID S^iX^IiS ©IP ASSIBIBKSiia hare ca,ued theae leltera to be made PATENT, and the SEAL of the GENERA/, 
LAND OFFICE to be hereunto affixed. 

«IVEI« under my hand, at the CITY OF WASBIweTOW, the^"^ 


Lord one thouaand eight hundred and 
the '^ c y^ iTti^^ ' ' ^^ . 

y^ day 0/ - /^ v -- - ' - ^'-^ i in the Year of our 



^y/VayU^i^ 2-^'i^ a^^^tJy^-O 

Reoorted, Vol. ?> <^' P«ge 

^7' I 



■ / 




Photo of original grant dated November 1, 1839, to John Pratt, father of Frank Pratt; signed by President 
Martin Van Buren. 

- 48 - 

This panoramic view of downtown Kilbourne answered several questions about the location of business places 
during this period and — raised a few more that are unanswered. 




To all to vthaiM these Rretienttt sitalt cmne^ Ghreeting: 


haj,' dipoiiledmtheGEKeiUU, LAND OFFICE <^ Iht oLll Stiita, a Cerl{fieale of the REi}liir&H. OF THE LAND OFFICE al i^' ,, ,i^/(' 
uftereby it tqipeoTg' that /uOpmfmaU tuu been made bp Iht taid tv '. n £^£ ijtu 1 1' *9C'/XiH- 

M . 

rdmg to tkeprmuimt (/ the 4d of OmgretM of the lith (/ jjit 1 820, entUled 'Jin act making fiirlher pramion for the tak of the Pablic Lands," for /A i //(Ji/' /iiLtL, e^ /Ax. 
ffl/Ji //CJJ ^/"^i.i^er ^ -dc/tr,. //le./.yhlr, i'>i /ri,,'j/.,/ ln^cU,^ Ja/l ^ A'uiu^' iUKiih J. J ^in /fu,f^ ^'i i,„ti/, a-L 

— :-: \ 

/ / / 

(Mtirdmf to the offiaal pbl of Iht lanej/.qf the laid Landt, utuntd to the Gawral Land OJJice by the sCBTEroB «e:«ebu. which laid tract hae been purchaud by the laid 

'■;,L.,; ■ ^,',, , ;' %^ NOW know ye, ncd t\» 

iJM tr aa yVTtMTBS or MBSMUGM, in contideraUon of the P^MM»i. and in conformity with the leveral acti of Congreii, in luch caae node and prooided, HAVE OIVBN AND ORANTED, 

/ Jjf<*«efrMen/« DO orPE AND GRANT, <in/o/*e«oi<* ^J llUi /,t i ii 'Jl^Jtx -_ 

ad tf^itJ An"i the md trad above described: TO HATE AND TO HOLD the enme, together with all the righti, pricUegea, immuniiei, and appurtenancet of whatioma nature, thereunto 
belonging,mlotluiaid /Jfjf^^,ji/,i ^/jjc»t :_ . midlo-Air> h^t and aiigne formr. 

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, ^ > -'^ ■ r ^''\^ 

SIBIBSS^IBST'S (DIP VStIB VSTl^ISID S^KiiVIBQ (DO* ASSiaiBlISils have amed theu Ulen lo be made PATENT, and the SEAL </ the OENEBAL 

LAND OFFICE to be haemlo i^lxed. 


BISMHtmida my hand,ai thtcm OV\thSian«ttlH,%lit''^^' '• ^"' ^ ■' day of ^ --/^ny InlUyirqfom 

lard one thomand eight hundred and ^ > r/^ r' Jet and (tf the INDEPEmtBltOB OT TBB VtOtSa (TATBa 






uoauu or m annul. lAm orriOM. 

Photo of original deed from the U.S. Government to Benjamin Sisson signed by President John Tyler. In the 
Sisson name since 1841, Harvey and Ralph still own land entered by their grandfather. Price — $1.25 per acre 
for prairie land, 25c per acre for timber ground. 


- 49 - 

FRANK WHITELEY and his grandfathers - ALEX 

BABY FASHIONS OF 1910 - Modeled by Irietta M. 
Reynolds Johnson 

LORA CLARK (PRATT) — daughter of Daniel and 
Catherine Chaney Clark; from a tin-type picture. 

Brady and Bessie Whiteley Stone; typical fashions of 
the younger set. 

— 50 - 


modeling the latest in millinery fashions. 



JESSE BAKER (1779- ) — Early pioneer to Mason 

County, 1833, grandfather of Frank Pratt, brother-in- CHRISTLNA TETER BAKER — married Jesse Baker 

law of Henry Sears, uncle of Frank Baker. in 1824, ten children — thirty-two grandchildren 

51 - 



Typical dress of little girls of 


on their wedding day 

Winter time — south side of Walnut Street; Charley Beckwith and his sleigh and horses (made the sleigh) ; Bill 
Zirkle and Steve Dolbin hitching a ride. 

- 52 - 

grandmother, or great grandmother of all the Ebkens 
around here), George, Mr. Leiding, Harmon, and 
Lena. The youngest, August, died of diptheria. 


LANE'S LUNCH ROOM — 1912, on south side, telephone office later. Behind counter — Sherman Lane, 
proprietor, town constable over 20 years. Customers — Clay Ruggles, Bill Piatt, unidentified, Sheridan Lane, 
unidentified, unidentified, "Bud" Hardin, "Skeet" Stroh. 

- 53 - 

faithful "Old Molly". South side of Walnut St. 

CLIFFORD SUTTON (1911-1942) — son of John and 
Jeanette Carter Sutton, became afflicted while 
sHidying for a career in music at ISNU, yet always 
cheerful and busy. "Nixie," a very well trained dog; 
carried messages and packages. 

JOHN I. WALLACE — taken when about 70, only man 
who could ride "Cap". 


John Isley Wallace ( 1885-1968), son of William A. 
and Elizabeth Seymour Wallace, lived at the east edge 
of Kilbourne Township. He was widely known for his 
expert horsemanship — riding, driving, breaking, and 
handling stock with horses; he raised, traded and sold 
them. He was in partnership on a stock farm with his 
son, Wm. 'Cuddy" Wallace, for 27 years; they farmed 
entirely with horses until 1950. John I.'s favorite sport 
was coon hunting with his dogs on his "happy hunting 
ground" on th^ Sangamon River bottoms. His chief 
interests — horses, dogs, people. 

— 54 — 

WILLIAM ZIRKLE and his violin — made several. 
Bill was the photographer who probably took most of 
the pictures of old-time buildings and street scenes 
used in our history 

BILL ZIRKLE — First car in Kilbourne, a Brush car. 

Did You Know — 

Bill Zirkle, the blacksmith, astonished his fellow 
citizens with a new set of false teeth — made by 
himself from silver dollars. 

THE ALEXANDER WHITELEY FAMILY - Alexander Whiteley (holding Elmer), Delia Whiteley Kiker, 
Fannie Whiteley (holding Jake), Bessie Whiteley Stone; Back Row-Henry Whiteley and Edward Whiteley. 

— 55 - 


LEDREW AND ELVA CRAGGS on "BUly, " ready for 

evidently showing his wares to the family. A nation- 
wide magazine carried pictures and a write-up 
concerning Moses Ferris as one of the last of the old- 
time peddlers. 

HELEN SINCLAIR — daughter of Watson and Nada 

CHARLEY BECKWITH in his courting days 
- 56 - 

•»r ' 

CARL "BUD" GOSNELL — was township supervisor 
for twelve years from 1951 to 1963 

CRAGGS AND FIELD 50TH ANNIVERSARY - ChUdren, front row - "Bud" Field, Dorothy Field, Eleanor 
Ringland Betty Rose Craggs, Betty Ann Craggs. 2nd row - Clara and Marshall Field, Fay Field, La Verne 
Field Chester Field, Daisy and Henry Field, Jesse and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Craggs, Cecil and Jeffie Craggs, 
Elizabeth Craggs, Alva Craggs. 3rd row - Hannah Field, Hal and Leatha Ringland, Bessie Davis, Harold Sr. 
and Ann Craggs, Harold Craggs Jr., Neva Craggs, Lavonna Craggs. Not present for picture, Lloyd Craggs. 

- 57 - 

ALICE PRATT (SUTTON) - proprietor of Kilbourne 
Home Bakery — 1910. Baker is unidentified. Located 
on west side of 5th Street across from Frank Daniel 
Store, building later was Bruce Eddy's Cabinet Shop. 

What Do You Know — 

Henry Staging was a well-traveled man before 
settling in the northeast part of Kilbourne Township. 
He was born in 1832 and at the age of 20, in order to 
better his fortune, went to Australia, tooit a mining 
claim and did well for a while (stayed there eight 
years); next, he moved to England; then to America; 
in 1872 he married Mary Kemper. 

What Do You Know — 

Kilbourne can boast of at least one family with 
five living generations — Mr. Dave Reynolds, Mrs. 
Irietta Johnson, Mrs. Jean Ash, Mrs. Donna Erickson, 
and Little Miss Tonia Lynn Erickson. 

What Do You Know — 

The farms of neighbors, William Craggs Sr. of 
England, Stephen Dolbin of Wales, and William 
Dwyer Sr. of Ireland came together and touched at 
one corner, north of Friend's Melon Stand. 

KILBOURNE "GIRLS " ATTEND A "KID" PARTY - Attending were: 1st Row - Marie Holstlaw, Nina 
Hawks, Chattie Daniel, Bessie Baker, Gladys Blunt, Neva Howe, Minnie Howe, holding Agatha. 2nd Row - 
Maggie Whiteley, May Hughes, Edith Baker, Mae Sutton, Elsie Baker. 3rd Row - Carrie Hale, Mintie Craggs, 
Essie Craggs, Bessie Field, Mrs. Christman. (Think of the time spent in doing their hair in rags for the curls. ) 

- 58 - 

FRIEND HOME — north of Mt. Zion Church. Myrta Friend (Sielschott), Mr. WUliam Friend, Maud Friend 
(Sielschott), Ethel Friend (Keest), Mrs. Frank ("Mag") Friend (Maseman), Mrs. Minerva Gee Friend, Edna 
Friend (Conkl in). 

Did You Know — 

Emma Blakeley Drake remembered going to 
Long Branch to get their mail. 
f * * * 

According to voter registration books, there were 
twenty registered voters in Kilbourne Township with 
the surname of Craggs in 1932 and 1934. However, in 
both 1936 and 1938, there were twenty-five Craggses! 

Did You Know — 

1970 marked the retirement of Mrs. Hilda Goben, 
capable school cook of the Kilbourne Grade School, 
after fourteen years of feeding several hundred 
youngsters. She had been head cook from the 
beginning of the hot luch program. Her assistants 
have been Mrs. Emma Blakeley, Mrs. Marilyn 
Blakeley, Miss Betty Lou Craggs, and Mrs. Janice 

William and Nancy Ware Cobb, Granddaughter Ruby 
Gregory Clark, Great-granddaughter Lola Clark 
Clark (this is correct, same name before and after 

Did You Know — 

William and Nancy Ware Cobb have over 300 
descendants but only one male to carry on the Cobb 
name — John William Cobb, age 19, son of Basil and 
Minnie Cobb, Archie, Missouri, and grandson of John 
and Jennie Carter Cobb. 


Mrs. Mabel Umbach, Kilbourne Grade School 
teacher, retired at the end of this school year. Mrs. 
Umbach had taught a total of 34 years, 32 of these in 
Mason County, and approximately 500 students. In the 
14 years she taught in the Balyki Unit, she did not miss 
a single day of school because of illness. 

- 59 - 


We Kilbourne folks should be very grateful to 
General James M. Ruggles who shared in the 
authorship of the "History of Menard and Mason 
Counties" ■ published in 1879. We have referred to it 
again and again as a source of much reliable 
information concerning the pioneer story of the 
Kilbourne area. 

James M. Ruggles. born in 1818, a descendant of a 
family noted in early colonial history and in the 
Revolutionary War, came to Bath, Illinois, from Ohio 
in 1846 and became a popular and prosperous 
merchant. He was elected state senator in 1852 and 
wrote "alone and unaided " the first platform of the 
Republican party founded in Illinois during this 
period. In 1856, his good friend, Abraham Lincoln, 
after delivering a speech in Bath, was entertained in 
the Ruggles home. This house is now owned and 
occupied by Mrs. Hazel Oest and is one of the 
landmarks of our neighboring town. Mr. Ruggles 
advanced in rank several times while fighting in the 
Civil War, and at its, close, was named brigadier 
general for meritorious service. He then made his 
home in Havana until his death in 1901. 

General Ruggles was "active and energetic, 
enterprising and public spirited." He labored hard for 
the establishment of roads and railroads and was the 
author of the first drainage law enacted in Illinois, 
designed for reclaiming the swampy land in the lower 
half of our county. 

A son, Henry C. Ruggles, also fought in the Civil 
War and was taken prisoner at Chickamauga. He was 
postmaster two terms. Henry C. and his brother, 
Albert G. (Poke) both had drug stores in Kilbourne. 

Henry C. and his wife. May Webb Ruggles, were 
the parents of six children. Clay, interior decorator; 
James and Albert, telegraphers; Mrs. Willis "Mike" 
Smith (Mazie); Mrs. Harry (Emma) McWhorter; and 
Mrs. Ruth Altig. Some of our older citizens remember 
Druggist Ruggles often carrying his little daughter, 
Mazie, home on his shoulders. Mrs. Smith still resides 
where her parents set up housekeeping many years 

FRANK H. MADISON - Our Tireless Source of 
Information — Our Guide to Local Sites — Owner of 
the Old Newspapers — Anything you want to know, 
asl( Frank Madison I 

ELLA CRAGGS BECKWITH - our "memory girl" 
who has been such a help in the writing of our history 
with all her recollections of people and places. 

- 60 - 


The history of education in the village of 
Kilbourne and its surrounding area finds its 
beginnings in response to native demands The 
settlements were sparse for many years. Money or 
other means of remunerating teachers were scarce. 
The pioneers were nearly always poor. There were no 
school houses erected, and no public funds were 
available for schools. Both teachers and books were 
scarce, and all persons of both sexes with enough 
physical strength to labor were compelled to assist in 
supporting their families. 

The free-school system was adopted in Illinois in 
1825, but this was in advance of public sentiment. The 
people preferred to pay tuition fees or go without 
education for their children rather than submit to 
taxation. The early settlers developed a crude system 
of schools which was to continue for several decades. 
The schools and buildings were left to the option of the 
community. To have a better understanding of the 
attitudes toward education, it might be well to 
consider the social and economic setting of this era. 
We of the present time have little conception of the 
mode of life of our earliest residents. 

Alexander Dick was the first pedagogue in the 
first school of the township during the spring of 1840. 
The school was constructed from individual 
contributions of the neighbors, and Dr. Drury Field 
contributed the logs and boards. It was a typical 
pioneer school with puncheon log floors, clapboard 
door with wooden latch, logs daubed with mud for the 
walls, and log benches. I. A. Hurd is among the first 

Aaron Ray sold one-quarter acre of land to the 
board of school trustees in 1847 for the price of $10.00. 
Cecil Gobens barber shop is thought to be part of the 
original schoolhouse which was moved into the 
village. The school was moved about 1873-1874. after 
Kilbourne was laid out, and served, also, for church 
purposes. Two teachers were employed, and there 
were over one hundred children in the district. This 
was a two room schoolhouse. now occupied by Mrs. 
Joanne Schoonover and sons, built on the Layman 
property. Melville Upp, father of Walter Upp, 
puichased this structure and converted it into a 
dwelling Frank Madison and Walter Upp. both 
present residents of the village, attended this school 
about 1893. and their teachers were Robert Rigler and 
Sarah Smith. 

The next school constructed was a three room 
structure on the west side of Kilbourne. Robert Rigler 

KGS in old frame building, Mr. Bruning, teacher. 
- 61 - 

March, 1914 

and Laura Rigler taught in this school, and only two 
rooms were used. In 1905 the teachers were: W. R. 
Barnes, Principal ; Miss Kate Paul, Intermediate, and 
Miss Edythe Madison. The faculty in 1908 included; J. 
V. Lebegue, Principal; Miss Nina Goodell, 
Intermediate; and Miss Grace Pierce, Primary. 

In March 1914, the school was destroyed by fire; it 
was replaced by a two story school of brick with four 
rooms. The building was ready for use during the 1914- 
1915 school term. This building was in existence until 
the formation of the consolidation. The school was 

KILBOURNE GRADE SCHOOL — brick building, 
built 1914-1915. 

purchased by Larue Lane and razed. The old 
playground is now a trailer court. 

Additional Kilbourne Grade School teachers 
through the years have been: Martha Swing. Beryl 
Xeff. Grace Conklin, Pearl Ketcham, Delbert Bell. 
Anna Scheuering, Minnie Scheuering, Myrtle 
Coggeshall. May Hughes, Ethel Pratt, Doris Friend, 
Cordelia Dammann. Velma Kruse. Mary Cooper, 
Elinor Wendt. Paul Stevenson, Inez Abshire, Dorothy 
Larson. Lillie McCoy. Howard Spear. Lois 



rf ■'" ■ ' "■' -^-^ ' ^ 

KGS - 1914-15 — 1st row — Wayne Young, Clair (Eldred) Upp, Anna Scheuering, Irma Blakeley, Lena 
Showalter, Ralph Upp, Dora Houston. 2nd row - Theresa Smith, Goldie Ketcham, Nellie Baker, Bessie Baker, 
Blanche Goben, Nina Pratt. 3rd row — Marshall Field — teacher, Lee Hardin, Albert Lascelles. 

- 62 - 


The one-room elementary schools served as an 
educational center for the community and often as 
religious meeting places, and as the town hall or 
polling place. 

The Frog Pond School is thought to be at least one 
hundred years old. The Charles Craggs family felt the 
need for a school, and Mr. Craggs made arrangements 
for a tract of land consisting of one acre to be retained 
for educational purposes. The land was located on the 
far west side of Kilbourne Township. At the time the 
land was sold to John Leiding, it was understood that 
the one acre and its building be used for school 
purposes as long as the school existed. 

Some of the senior citizens recall that the school 
was originally known as "Union" during the earliest 
period and was later changed to "Frog Pond." The 
area around the school was covered with ponds, the 
ground was often muddy, and the frogs naturally used 
it as their habitat. 

The original building was never replaced, and the 
same walls reechoed words of knowledge until 
progress closed the door forever. The improvements 
of interior decorating, modern heating system, 
electric lights, and exterior siding were added 
through the years. 

Some of the earlier teachers were: Fannie 
Wacaser of Mt. Pulaski: Minnie Hamlin, Havana: 
Kate and Bill Dwyer, Kilbourne: Harry Howe, 
Kilbourne; Lydia Bridges, Kilbourne: May Leighton, 
Forest City ; James and Arleigh Conklin, Kilbourne. 

Later teachers included: Velma Morris, Caroleen 
Bell, Goldie Ketcham, Benjamin Schwering, Ethel 
Pratt, Thelma Siltman, and Oriena Hibbs, who taught 
during the final years of the school's existence. 

Some of the families residing in the district have 
included: Keest, Leiding, Kolves, Morris, Upp, 
Nehmelman, Meyers, Markert, Friend. Davenport, 
Lascelles, Fanter, Bearden, Oest, Sandidge, and 
Ebken. Many of the descendants of the same families 
are residing today in the land of their forefathers. 

Hardin School, located in the southwest part of 
Kilbourne Township, was built in 1879 on one-half acre 
of land sold by Thomas Ainsworth The name, Hardin, 
was given in honor of James M. Hardin, a pioneer 
family of the neighborhood. 

In 1917, the old building was replaced, and one 
acre of land was acquired for a larger playground. 
During the years of 1922-28. Hardin School is recalled 
as the only rural school in the township having a Hot 
Lunch Program and a baskelball team of 4th, 5th, and 
6th grade boys. 

FROG POND SCHOOL — 1900 - 1st row: Roscoe Upp, Bert Connor, Carlos Upp, Robbie Lascelles, Frank 
Messman, Fred Messman, Robbie Dolbin, Jimmie Connor, Roy Wiseman. 2nd row: Bill Wiseman, Frank 
Lascelles, Carl Dolbin, George Leiding, Mabel Wiseman, Bessie Upp, Martha Rhodes, Bessie Bell, Anna 
Edwards. Eda Keest, Harmon Leiding, Gus Leiding, Newt Edwards. 3rd row: John Lascelles, Steve Dolbin, 
Lena Leiding, Grace Lascelles, Louisa Morris, Anna Keest, Clarissa Edwards, Kate Leiding, Trace Bell. Top 
row: Miss Fannie Wacaser - teacher, Carl Keest, John Morris, Leora Upp, Harry Keest, Lizzie Schaad, Bill 
Edwards, Callie Dolbin, Roy Upp, Cleve Bell, Ada Upp. 

- 63 - 

HARDIN SCHOOL, OLD BUILDING — Front row, Viola Ade, Cora Samms, Scott Sutton, Ora Goben, Frank 
Curry, Cecil Madison. 2nd row, Anna Sutton, Caroleen Bell, Cecil Curry, Earl Madison, Delbert Bell. 3rd row. 
Teacher — James A. Conklin, Arizona Hodgson, Orlie Wallace, Ben Sutton, Clara Sutton, Ella Sutton. 


FROG POND SCHOOL — about 1918. Typical last day dinner. Old type schoolhouse, anteroom, the necessary 

— 64 — 


The teachers who taught at Hardin School during 
the half century from 1904-1954 were ?.s follows; 
Katharine Paul. James Conklin, Jeanette Carter, 
Clara Sutton, S. A. Conklin, Lydia Bridges. Warda 
Hale, Leslie Conklin, Grace Conklin, Caroleen Bell, 
Marv Craggs, Esther Pratt, May Hughes. Alice 
Blakeley. Eileen Stroh. Stella Sigley. Freda 
Schwering. Myrtle Pickett. 

The school was closed in 1954. when the Kilbourne 
and Bath districts consolidated. 

Henrv and Margaret Jones donated two acres of 
land on July 8. 1858. for the Jones School site. The 
original structure was located across the road from 
the Oliver Blakeley farm and less than a mile north of 
the later Jones School The site of the first building 
was swampy and made an undesirable location. About 
1877, two rnore acres of land were donated, and the 
schoolhouse was moved to the second and last site of 
Jones School. The old building was replaced with a 
new structure in 1915. 

The earliest date of available information 
concerning faculty is 1890-1891. Warren Drake was the 
teacher, and the enrollment was forty-six pupils. 
Those pupils still living are: Ella Beckwith. Gertie 
Ermeling, Margaret Whiteley. Minnie Holstlaw, and 
Herbert Drake 

Sylvester Drake, John Brent, and Henry Caldwell 
were school board members during the year 1898-1899. 
The teacher was Alfred C. LeSourd with forty-one 
pupils. Charlie Lane, Herbert Drake, Minnie 
Holstlaw. Edith Prettvman, Jesse Craggs, and Mae 
Sutton are still living. At the age of ninety-five, Mr. 
LeSourd resides alone and maintains his home in 
Mason City. 

Other teachers recalled are: Clift Ruggles. Cora 
Roof. John Sutton, G. A. Bruning. Gertie Ermeling, 
Zola Madison, Cordelia Damman, Lena Kohrman. 

JONES SCHOOL, OLD BUILDING. Front row, Charlie Blakeley, Essie McDaniel, Bessie Beckwith, Alice 
Dwyer, unidentified, Dessie Beckwith, Nina Shores, - Dwyer, Delia Shores, Ollie Blakeley, Edgar (Mike) 
Brent. Back row, Leslie Dwyer, Nora Dwyer, Annie Edwards, Gertie Blakeley, Rue Lane, Cliff Ruggles - 
teacher, Dallas Drake, Lola Lane, Jesse Garrett, Edith Shores, Daisy Blakeley. 

- 65 - 


- 1 


JORDAN SCHOOLBOYS - 1st row-Dwayne Keith, 
Wallie Hobbs, Clinton Hoskins. 2nd row-Donald 
Sielschott, Harold Hardin, Clyde Go ben. 

JORDAN SCHOOLGIRLS — 1st row-Margery Lane, 
Mildred Goben. 2nd row-Mildred Sielschott, Edith 
Shoemaker, Blanche Hobbs. 

O'NEAL SCHOOL — 1st row — Murray Johnson, Denzil Whitlow, Joe Matthews, Dale Van Etten, Elmer Smith, 
Donald Williams, Blaine Close. 2nd — Ho Wave Lane, Esther Thomas, Ruanna Whitlow, Glendora Van Etten, 
Neota Bahl, Susie Smith, Ruth and Dorothy Wallace. Top row, Florine Toland, Doris Whitlow, Mary Williams, 
Eldredge Bahl, Mrs. Grayce Conklin - teacher, Ben Cave, Floyd Toland, John Matthews, Lloyd Miller, Thomas 
Homer Smith. 

- 66 - 

O'NEAL SCHOOL — Typical schoolhouse of 
yesterday, 3 windows on each side, anteroom. 

Jordan School was built about the same period as 
the above mentioned lural schools. During the early 
periods, the enrollment averaged between thirty and 
forty pupils. 

Those teaching in the Jordan School have been: 
Blanche Bridges," J. L. Hill, Benjamin Schwering, 
Margaret Middlekamp, Thelma Finch, Lucy 
KohrmanT EsteUa Sigley, Isabelle Hall, Velma 
Williamson, Alice Cave, Marie Reznicek, Wilhelminia 
Behrends, Mabel Hall. Mildred Sielschott. Faye 
Schoonover, Doris Friend. Nelda Lane, and Kathryn 

O'Neal School, located east of Kilbourne. was 
named in honor of Dr Harvey O'Neal. Early families 
educated there included the Burtons. Murphys, 

Carters. Scholls. Buckleys, and Crums. The original 
school was purchased by E. A Sears, and Orie 
Madison was the auctioneer. 

A new schoolhouse was constructed in 1929, when 
John Wallace. Lynn Murphy, and John Schulte were 
directors. James Palmer of Mason City was the 
contractor for the school costing approximately 

Families receiving their elementary school 
training here were the children with the name of: 
Lane, VanEtten. Wallace. Murphy, Close, Toland, 
Adkins, Cave. Bahl. Miller. Eddy, Smith. Whitlow, 
Gosnell, Johnson, Lyon, and Thomas. 

Teachers have included: S. A. Conklin, James 
Conklin, Leslie Conklin, Raymond Conklin, Grace 
Conklin Close, Beulah Scoville, Nate Harbison, Mary 
Craggs, Zelda Stone Severns. Zola Goben, Elsie 
Prettyman. and Grace Sisson, who was the last 
teacher prior to consolidation. The school was 
purchased by Frank Sears for $1050.00. and William B. 
Wallace was the auctioneer. The school was 
converted into an attractive residence. 

Union IH, District 22, was organized in 1861, with 
R. Huthpeth as the first teacher. He was given a 
contract for a period of three months for $20.00 per 
month. The next teacher was William Baker, who was 
followed by Harriet Baker. From that time, the school 
became known as the Baker School. 

Through the years, we find the names of seventy 
teachers with salaries ranging from $15.00 per month 
to $135.00. There were fourteen boys and thirteen girls 
enrolled at the opening of the school. At that time, 
twenty-eight homes were in the district; today there 
are eight family residences. This is all a part of the 
everchanging times. 

BAKER SCHOOL — First Row, left to right, seated: Herbert Koch, Clarence Eaton. Second row, Howard 
Stone, Raymond Stone, Ledrew Showalter, Frank Stone, Carl Koke. Third row, Roy Beckman, Hilda Rainey, 
Leora Showalter, Carl Beckman, Alvin Huber, Paul Gregory, Melvin Eaton. Top row. Earl Coppel, teacher, 
Aletha Beckman, Edna Crane, Gertrude Williams, Edythe Huber, Fannie Stone, Mable Stone. 

- 67 - 

O'NEAL SCHOOL — 1st row — Wayne Lynn, Roy Adkins, Jimmie Crafton, Melvin Gilmore, "Cuddy" Wallace, 
Pauline Davenport, Virginia Murphy. 2nd — Edgar Davenport, "Bus" Murphy, Bemhard Lane, Myrtle Cave, 
Adkins sisters. 3rd — Carl Burton, Wilbur Miller, Nina Crafton, Bemiece Davenport. Top row — Violet MUler, 
Mildred Cave, Helen Wallace, Grayce Conklin — teacher. 


Peteiville and Long Branch have been a closely 
knit ■'Borderline Community." Peterville had its 
school about fifty years prior to Long Branch, so the 
children from the west came to the east. The Mowder 
brothers, one in each community, were a strong force 
in the unity. Other things that united the two 
communities have been: the Threshing Ring, the 
Peterville Hall, Peterville Band. Peterville-Long 
Branch Ball Team, and the Long Branch-Peterville 
Birthday Club, which has endured almost a half 

Prior to having a building, the children assembled 
in one of the homes, a church, or vacant building, and 
were taught by a traveling teacher, who boarded with 

the different parents, tietore tne hamlet of Peterville 
was laid out in 1868. the school was known as the 
■Leaf School " Old records show that \. Leaf owned 
the land on Peterville corner, and the Leaf family 
were instrumental in building the original 
schoolhouse. Mrs. Levina Chatfield was the first 
teacher, and she was paid $20.70 per month on October 
5. 1850. A. G. Fisher taught in 1852: the salary was 
paid according to the number of pupils in attendance. 

In the year of 1856-1857, taxes were levied in the 
amount of $106.18 to build a school. District 4 and later 
changed to District 59. The school was a small frame 
structure located on the east side of the old 
Springfield Road, laid out by Abraham Lincoln. In 
1874 the school was sold to James Waterworth for 
$29.00, and a larger building was erected north of the 
old site. 

- 68 - 


PETERVILLE SCHOOL — North side of building. 

Early pioneer names among the teachers are: 
Mary E. Blakeley. J. T. Mowder. Abel Milleson, 
Maggie Dwyer. Ella Everist, J. W. Hill. Maggie 
Ponds. Lizzie VanEtten. Gertie Siegley. Anna 
Hoffman. W. R. Deverman. Grace Conklin. 

Other educators recalled are: Lucy Kohrman, 
Isabel McCabe. Bradie Whitlow. Benjamin 
Schwering. Harvey Sisson. Grace Sisson, Urla Ebken. 
Gertie Ermeling. Lola Clark. Ida Wallace. Goldie 
Ketcham. Lillian Adlingtom 

The year of 1960-1961 terminated the end of 
Peterville School. It had four pupils. David Bridges. 
Ann Prettyman, Berniece and Dwight Kolves. with 
Goldie Ketcham as the teacher. The building and its 
contents were auctioned off at the last day of school, 
and the school is utilized as a dwelling. 

Because the children of Long Branch had attended 
the Peterville School for years. Grandma (Rebecca) 
Mowder boarded a train at Long Branch and traveled 
to Peoria to acquire a plot of ground for a one-room 
school, east of the station from Mrs. Bradley for $1.00 
and for the promotion of education. The structure was 
constructed about the turn of the century. 

Some of the family names which furnished 
children and directors were: Atwood, Beckman, 
Bitner, Butler, Cornwall. Crater, Davis. Drake. 
Dammerman, Dye. Jones, Kastendick, Koke, Leiding, 
Lober, Miller, Mowder, Niederer, Nunn, Nordhausen, 
Sarff, Siltman, Sims, Vaughn, VanEtten, Vehslage, 
Wieber, Williams, and Way. 

Some of the teachers who "rang the bell" at Long 
Branch have been: Bill Wieber, first teacher, Howard 
Bell, Pansy Burnham. May Field. Harold Goben, Eva 
Kreiling. Geneva Heater, Beth Johnson, Lucy 
Kohrman, Zola Madison, Lizzie McClausen. Lorraine 
.\ordhausen. Robert Phelps. Oscar Poland, Jessie 
Rhoades. Alice and Valley Robertson. Myrtle Cooper, 
Estella and Gertrude Sigley, Grace Sisson. Bertha 
Steele, Zelda Stone, John Sutton, Oney Turner, Mabel 
Umbach, Bernice Vanderveen, Lillian VanEtten, and 
Geneva Heater, the last teacher. 

When the enrollment became too few, the school 
closed in 1956. Some of the pupils returned to the 

LONG BRANCH SCHOOL — Picture taken just 
before tearing it down. 

mother school. Peterville, and others went to Havana 
and Balyki The schoolground joined the original tract 
of land, as stated in the deed, the schoolhouse was 
razed, and the old elms were bulldozed. Now tractors 
plod the earth instead of youthful feet. No trace is left 
of the Long Branch School, but pleasant memories re- 
main in the hearts of the families 

Prior to the reorganization of schools in Mason 
County, there vvere 98 school districts. Today we have 
the six unit districts within our county, and the "good 
new davs" are here in education. 

Did You Know — 

When Lora Merrill Madison (Frank's mother) 
taught school at Jordan for $25 a month, it was a 
requirement that the teacher board with one of the 

Don D. Shute Honored — 

The beautiful new grade school building on a 
twenty-two acre tract now under construction in East 
Peoria, has been named "The Don D. Shute 
Elementary School", in honor of a former principal of 
Kilbourne Grade School. His wife, the former 
Elizabeth (Betty) Rigge was a teacher in the 
Kilbourne High School. A plaque presented to Shute by 
the East Peoria School Board commended him for, 
among other things, "his deep involvement in quality 
education, his natural wit, literary and poetic talents 
and his exemplary ideals as husband, father, and 

69 - 

LONG BRANCH SCHOOL - John W. Sutton, teacher 

JONES SCHOOL — Merle Williams, Bob and Bud Sisson, Don Blakeley, Gary and Wayne Kolves, GaU 
Murdock, Gene DeVore, Russell Thomas, Ginger Blakeley, Wendell Williams, Hallie Barker, Karen Thomas, 
Brenda Blakeley, Mrs. Lillie McCoy - teacher. 

- 70 - 

KTHS — In its second year of existence. 1st row — Cecil Craggs, Scott Sutton, Roy Goben, Ben Sutton, Verne 
Field, G. E. Clark — principal. 2nd row — Harry Geisler, Marshall Field. 3rd row — Warda Hale, Beryl Neff, 
Clara Sutton, Lulu Summers, Bess Upp, Alice Robertson — assistant principal, Annie Daniel, Myrtle Lane, 

MISS LUCY E. SAMUELL - thorough, strict, 
beloved teacher and principal of KTHS 


The need tor a high school in Kilbourne was 
recognized by some of the more progressive residents 
as early as 1906. H. L. Blakely. prominent farmer of 
the Kilbourne area, initiated the idea resulting in the 
circulation of a petition requesting the township 
trustees to call for a vote on the construction of a high 

The proposition was submitted to the voters of the 
township school district on April 13, 1907, and carried 
by a handsome majority. Among the details necessary 
before the actual building began was the election of a 
board of directors. Winfield S. Sutton was elected to 
serve as the first president of the board of education, 
and Jesse Craggs, its clerk. Other board members 
elected on May 11. 1907, were: M. P. Upp, H. M. Ade, 
and Sylvester Drake. 

By June 8, 1907, the building site had been 
selected, and the bond issue passed for the building of 
the school on the north edge of the village. The land 
was purchased from John M. Blakeley. Edgar 
Thomas was the contractor. 

After construction began in August, some of the 
residents became so eager to organize the school that 
the first sessions of high classes in Kilbourne were 
held in the Town Hall. Miss Lucy Samuell of Easton 
was the first principal of Kilbourne Township High 
School, which opened on September 16, 1907. just five 
months after the initial approval to organize. When 

- 71 

KILBOURNE GRADE SCHOOL — 1st row — Dorothy and Sarah Albrecht, Pauline Daniel, Jeanette Sutton — 
teacher, Marie Conklin, Mildred Madison. Back row — Gladys Goben, Earnway Dew, Doris Scheuering. 

Many still call Mrs. Jeanette Carter Sutton their favorite teacher. She was kind, considerate, patient, 
concerning — yet firm. She taught 37 years, 33 in Kilboume School. 

.-'-^ s5^^ v,-^' 

YEAR WAS ADDED - Zola Madison, Eidred Daniel, 
Minnie Scheuering, Harold Goben, Margaret 
Middlekamp, Earl Blakeley, Nina Pratt. 

KILBOURNE GRADE SCHOOL in 1970, formerly 

72 - 

one-story building, dedicated March 20, 1908. 

the building was completed, dedication exercises 
were held in Craggs and Field's Hall on March 20, 
1908. with Dr F. G. Barnes, President of Illinois 
Wesieyan University, as the dedicatory speaker. 

The first classes were held in the high school on 
February 17, 1907. The original building was 32 x 60 
feet and Was comprised of two classrooms, spacious 
vestibules and entry rooms, and a full basement with 
furnace rooms. The cost was approximately $3915. 
plus seats and the furnace. 

Miss Samuel was a versatile teacher. She 
instructed her pupils in a wide range of subjects — 
Latin, botany, physics, zoology, and bookkeeping, in 
addition to the usual English, history, and advanced 
mathematics, for the salary of $85 per month. The 
first pupils to attend Kilbourne Township High School 
numbered seventeen by the time they moved into the 
new building. They were: Roscoe Upp. Paul Dwyer, 
Roy Goben. Bertice Spear. Scott Sutton. Orlie 
Wallace. Benjamin Sutton. Lynn Sapp. Watson 
Sinclair, Clavert Truscott, Cecil Craggs. Ethel 
Wright. .N'ada Madison. Clara Sutton. Ethel Buckley. 
Bessie Dwyer. and Verna Milstead 

For several years, the high school offered only a 
thiee year curriculum, and many students went to 
Havana for the fourth year. Later. Kilbourne 
Township High School became a fully accredited four 

year high school. Many changes occuired. including 
the addition of a second story to the original structure, 
and a gymnasium. Commencement Exercises for the 
Class of 1933 were the first to be held in the new 

Due to the decline in enrollment in both the Bath- 
Lvnchburg Community High School and the Kilbourne 
Township High School, it was decided to consolidate 
the two schools in 1953-1954 with the attendance center 
in Bath The last group of seniors to graduate from 
Kilbourne Township High School was the Class of 
1954. with the following members; Wanda Justice, 
Margaret Sisson. Jack Vaughn. Gary Butler. Frank 
Gilmore. John McCario. Dale Sutton, and Kenneth 

The rapidlv declining enrollment in the rural 
schools in both' areas led to the recommendation by 
the State Department of Public Instruction in 1960 
that a community unit be established .'^t an election 
held on March 12. 1960. the Balyki Community Unit 
District No. 125 was organized Elementary classes 
are held in the former Kilbourne Township High 

KTHS — Two-story building 

picnic at Fish Lake, May, 1926. Guy R. Williams-after 
2 years of college, his plans for law school cut short by 
his death in 1929; "Prof" Marshall A. Newnum- 
respected, upstanding man and teacher, liked by all; 
Alma Beckwith (Missal)-elementary music teacher 
and homemaker; Miss Lucy E. Samuell-beloved 
teacher who could punish you with one frigid look; 
Vivan C. Blakeley-Thawville, Illinois, still teaching in 
same district where he started in 1931; Miss Mildred 
Krughoff-English teacher, many remember her 
especially as an excellent play director. 


Where was Ashurst School? 

Where was Mt. Zion School? An entry of the 
Craggs and Field Ledger — Book I, dated December 
27. 1886, is for 1 Box of Chalk - 25c and 1 Fire Shovel - 
25e (Mt. Zion School District per Miss Ford). 

- 73 - 



Kilbourne history would be incomplete without a 
sketch of the life of Dr. J. W. Root, who practiced 
medicine for over sixty years, most of that time in 
this community. 

At the age of twelve, John Wesley Root came by 
covered wagon with his parents from Uniontown, 
Fayette County, Pennsylvania to Schuyler County 
near Rushville, Illinois. As the Civil War was raging, 
John ran away a few days after his sixteenth birthday, 
to try to enlist. He was refused because of his size and 
weight. After several attempts, he slipped into line 
and raised his hand while a squad was being sworn in. 
He served as bugler and drummer with the Illinois 
Volunteers until the end of the war. He learned first 
aid and surgery on the battlefield, serving at 
Chattanooga, Look-out Mountain, Chicamauga, and 
many other places. 

He returned to Rushville, taught school, and 
studied with local physicians. Later, he received his 
medical degree from St. Louis Medical College. 

In 1868, he married Miss Melinda Ann Scott, also 
of Rushville. After practicing at Browning, Illinois, 
several years, they came to Kilbourne around 1876 
where he set up his office and served humanity until 
his death in 1929. They had three children, Prudence 
(Mrs. J. D. Samuell of Texas), Elizabeth (Mrs. J. L. 
Coggeshall of Clayton, Illinois), and Clarence who 

died at the age of three and is buried in Mt. Zion 
cemetery. Dr. and Mrs. Root celebrated their 60th 
wedding anniversary together. 

Dr. Root was widely known for his collection of 
relics, coins, and antiques. At one time he owned one 
of the best private collections of Indian relics in the 
state. Some of these have been placed in Smithsonian 
Institute at Washington, D. C, some were given to 
other institutions. 

Dr. Root was the family doctor of many for four 
generations and delivered most of three generations 
of babies in and around Kilbourne. In his large 
practice, he did a vast amount of work for which he 
received no pay. Until his health began to fail, he 
never refused a call, regardless of time, distance, or 
weather. Many have remarked how he went day and 
night at the time of the influenza epidemic of 1918. 
Even during his last year he did a considerable office 

Memorial services, conducted by Rev. J. M. 
Branson, friend of Dr. Root for thirty-five years, were 
largely attended by friends and neighbors. Pall- 
bearers were R. M. Goben, H. A. Beckwith, John W. 
Sutton, Efner Hughes, Steve Dolbin, and L. W. Dew. 
Burial was at Howe Cemetery at Clayton. So ended 
the long busy life of the man still spoken 
affectionately of as •"Or Doc Root". 

- 74 - 


From our Mason County history, we found this 
information concerning the growing of corn in early 
times. The author tells that the ground was poorly 
plowed with a wooden plow, then scratched over with 
a wooden toothed harrow. The farmer then marked 
off the field both ways with a single plow, planted his 
corn with a hoe, and cultivated it with either a hoe or a 
single shovel plow. However, the virgin soil produced 
unbelievable yields, and usually furnished the pioneer 
with enough to supply food for his family, for seed the 
following year, and perhaps a few bushels to share 
with a newly settled neighbor. 

"CUUUY" WALLACE and his mules demonstrating a 
horse-powered hay baler at a threshing bee. Small 
boys are enjoying the experience of playing in the 
feather-bed softness of newly-threshed straw (and 
scratchy!) Remember? 

PLOWING CORN — "Doc" Hines, one of last of old- 
time "hired hands" who stayed with employer. Stand- 
"Cuddy" Wallace. 

R. M. (Dick) Goben and his fine mules, ready to sow 
wheat. Mr. Goben was township Supervisor for 28 

Threshing at the John Scott farm. Left to right on ground — George Crane, Earl Caiui, John Scott, George 
Clark, George Cobb, Ross Clark, Pearl Estep. Above, left to right — Charley Hagan, Water boys, Raymond 
Gregory and Earl Scott; Bill Harmison, Will Estep, Tom Murdock, Grover Gregory, Jim Gregory (flaw in 
picture) holding reins, and Billie Krause, as labeled by Ora Scott Cobb. Oh, that everyone had written names 
and dates on their pictures as faithfully as she did! 

- 75 - 


Almost every atlas and history of Mason County 
mentions the Ashurst Press Drill, sometimes called 
the Succor Drill (so-called because it was a "help" to 
farmers'' i. General Ruggles tells that in early prairie 
pioneer days the wheat was sown by hand, then 
brushed in the ground with a black-jack sapling. Later 
they used a horse-drawn implement with "old- 
fashioned flukes"' for planting the seed in the soil. 
Then came the invention of the new press drill, 
equipped with runners that worked the most trashy 
ground about as easily as where it was perfectly 

Robert Blunt, son of Thomas Fisher Blunt of our 
Mt. Zion history, made the original drill of this type 
for his own and his neighbors' use. His son, George, 
with the assistance of Hiram Blunt made a series of 
improvements and patents on the drill. 

John L. Ashurst ( 1838-1911 ), a neighbor farm boy, 
was the son of Nelson R. and Jemima Ashurst and was 
an uncle of Marshall Ashurst who lived in Kilbourne in 
his later years. John L. married Amanda C. Blunt, a 
relative of Robert, the inventor. At the age of 19, he 
bought a few blacksmith tools to do his own repairing. 
He gradually learned and mastered the trade and 
worked with the Blunts in adding improvements to the 
Succor Drill. In 1869, he purchased five acres of land 
(now the residence of Arthur and Mildred Sielschott 

Kramer), built a home, a shop, and a "manufacturing 
establishment " for the making of the drill which he 
had by now brought to "its present perfection " and 
was called the "Ashurst Press Drill ". The inside of 
Art's farrowing house is part of the first factory. 

William Upp, farmer and carpenter, did the wood 
work on the drill while Mr. Ashurst did the iron work. 
When the demand for the new implement became so 
great that they outgrew the small factory, they moved 
to Havana around 1890 and expanded the business. Our 
senior citizen, Walter Upp, remembers that he visited 
his grandparents when he was about ten years old, 
after they had moved with the drill works to Havana. 

A photo of 30 men employed in 1893 by the Ashurst 
Press Drill Co. shows the extent of expansion in a 
short time. Walt Tolley, brother of the second Mrs. 
William Craggs, was one of the employees. A January 
23rd, 1896 issue of the Havana Republican announced 
the annual meeting of the stockholders of the 
company and the election of officers. The 1903 atlas of 
Mason County carries a picture and advertisement of 
"Red and Ready Gasoline Pumping Engines, The 
World's Standard, manufactured by The Ashurst 
Press Drill Co., Havana, Illinois '. The factory was 
purchased later by the Havana Manufacturing 

- 76 - 


Kil bourne's Invention Of Today — 

The Water Winch type of irrigation system, 
designed by Fred Kruse and Dean Behrends. is very 
adaptable for irregular fields and will go over 
practically any terrain, Kilbourne sand hills and all. It 
was originally manufactured on a small scale near the 
home of Fred and Kay Asay Kruse, but like the 
Ashurst Press Drill, the demand for their product 
grew and the Ag-Rain, Inc. plant is now located in 
Havana. They sell all over the United States and in 
some foreign countries. 


Wesley i Jake) Craggs, with the assistance of his 
brother, Jesse, invented and made arrangements with 
a Quincy firm for the manufacture of "equalizer 
wheels," a set of two connected wheels, one following 
the other. By replacing the land-side wheel of the gang 
or sulky plow with a set of these double wheels, the 
farmer could plow across the corn ridges without 
discing them down first. The wheels rode up and down 
over the ridges, the man and the plow were not so 
shaken up, therefore, they were usually spoken of as 

A February, 1903 issue of the "Kilbourne 
Independent" stated that the company had issued an 
attractive circular in which they gave the 
testimonials of a number of farmers, among which 
are P. D. Rhodes. Richard Goben. H. L. Blakeley, and 
C. F. Craggs. The wheels are a big success." Several 
of our local retired and active farmers have said they 

owned and used these ridge-runners and also testified 
that they did work. 

Mr. Craggs is also said to have made an apparatus 
or lever for raising and lowering the level of the grain 
bed on a wheat header. 


Picking green beans, 1970 on the Lane Brothers farm. 
Picker from Nicklaus Enterprises exclusive bean 
contract growers in this area. 

Do You Remember — 

Marion Bridges, the local veterinarian, seemed to 
have the natural gift of working with animals. He had 
very little formal education and learned the trade "on 
his own". Every farm then had horses, cows, and hogs 
and there were few farmers around who did not call 
for his services at some time. He would go any 
distance when someone came after him. It is said that 
many times he sat up with sick animals all night long. 

- 77 - 


The Hardwood Lumber Products Company owned 
and operated by John W. and Gary L. Hodgson is 
located 4 miles northeast of Kilbourne. It was 
established in 1966. Personnel consists of eight 

In 1970, it was converted to electrical power with 
32 inch Crosby edger, automatic log turner, and live 
deck — all designed for safety and efficiency. 

Besides the selling of lumber, the company 
contracts to make pallets for such companies as 
Caterpillar Tractor Co. and Keystone Steel and Wire 
Co. These pallets are used for the crating of parts and 


Logs — the way they grew "back when". Logger 
Charles Bailey says are between 3-4 feet through, 
have been sawed with cross-cut, are probably white 


In October of 1930, Everett Bailey began 
operating his saw mill. In the early years, a crosscut 
saw was used to cut the logs and a horse and chain 
dragged them out of the timber. This process was 
called "snaking" them out. The horse and chain were 
also used to load the logs on to a wagon which hauled 
them to the mill. Until 1945, the mill was powered by a 
steam engine. Mr. Bailey has had mills in Mason, 
Menard, and Cass Counties. At one time he also had 
his own planing mill and shop. He now saws only 
occasionally and mostly for his own use. 


The extent of the hardwood and lumber 
manufacturing industry was little realized even when 
Hopper Lumber Company was in full operation in 
Kilbourne in the 40's. The operations were scattered, 
with a sawmill and planing mill in town and part-time 
workers making pallets in the Paul Friend sale barn. 
Another sawmill was located near Springfield and a 
logger's camp was started on the banks of the 
Mississippi River at Pleasant Hill when the supply of 
logs in this area was almost gone. 

A real success story began when Chester Hopper 
came from Missouri and got a job as a farm hand in 
Crane Creek Township. He bought from Walter 
Dawson, former Kilbourne barber, a very small 
sawmill in Crane Creek, at first operating it only on 
Sunday. Then he bought from Everett Bailey a little 
planing mill with modern equipment. Contracts for 
shipping pallets from firms like Caterpillar and 
American Can Company came quickly. Cases for pop 
bottles and other specialties were added. Hopper was 
a salesman, advertising in business papers, and 
before long was handling the marketing for all saw- 
mills in the area — Petersburg, Bath, and others. 

Later, the lumber company was faced with a 
dwindling log supply and long hauls from the 
Mississippi River bottom. Mr. Hopper became 
involved in the stone quarry business, so the family 
moved to Nebraska. However, Hopper continued to 
operate the Kilbourne mills with Melvin Thomas as 
manager. Mrs. Shirley Vaughn Daniel was office 
manager until 1955 and then Mrs. Wynona Warner 
took over until the mills closed. Eventually the time 
came when the equipment could profitably be sold at 
auction and the planing mill building was purchased 
by the Sarff Oil Company. It is now leased by the 
Wieber Oil Co., Inc. to the state highway department 
for equipment and supply storage. Hopper served two 
terms as mayor where he accomplished much in 
street improvement. 


Charles Bailey started working with lumber at an 
early age along with his father and three brothers. 
For the past twelve years, he has been operating his 
own business. 

The first step in this business is to buy the timber 
from which the logs are cut. Some of the logs are then 
loaded onto trucks and sent directly to a saw mill. 
Others are brought to Kilbourne where they are 
placed on train cars to be shipped to many different 
states where they are cut into veneer and used in the 
building of furniture. 

Mr. Bailey works chiefly with walnut timber, but 
he also handles some soft woods such as oak and sand 

- 78 - 



Following are the Kilbourne businesses of today 
that have not already been mentioned in previous 


The Fornoff Fertilizer Service Company was 
formed in 1962 about three miles south of Kilbourne. 
In 1964, a new building was erected about 14 mile 
south of the village with an addition being completed 
in 1968. 

The firm which had its beginning with one 
employee, now requires three to six persons as 
services and products are required to serve this and 
surrounding communities with all types of fertilizer 
and agricultural chemical products. 


In 1959, tired of handling dry fertilizer, Ted and 
Fred Kruse changed to liquid. A liquid fertilizer 
manufacturing plant was built and Kruse Fertilizer 
Service was in business. Later, they were responsible 
for establishing other dealers in the county. 


For twenty-two years, George Prater was the 
local agent for a large petroleum company. When he 
retired in 1965, his son, Robert, took over the agency 
and continued service to the people of this area. 

In January of this year, Robert built a bulk plant 
and became an independent distributor of petroleum 


In 1933, Edison I. Sarff and family moved to 
Kilbourne where Mr. Sarff became an agent for 
Standard Oil Company. After eight years, he went into 
business for himself. A bulk plant was purchased and 
the Sarff Oil Company began operation. After a few 
months, an unfinished building on Highway 97 was 
purchased, completed, and opened as a service 

Due to failing health, Mr. Sarff sold the business 
to Delbert Wieber and the name was changed to the 
Wieber Oil Company. Later, another building was 
erected for the sale and repair of tires. In 1962, 
Milford Sarff became a partner. With Mr. and Mrs. 
Wieber and Mr. and Mrs. Sarff, the business was then 
incorporated. The Wieber Oil Co., Inc. is expanding — 
the service station was leased to Frank Sisson who 
now operates it as ■Frank's Shell."' Mr. Carroll 
Adkins has been an employee for the past 29 years and 
Mr. John Nail has been with the company for twelve 

The ladies of Kilbourne are fortunate in having 
three nearby beauty shops. Mrs. Marilyn Blakeley 
operates her shop at her home in town. The other 
shops are located a few miles from the village at the 
homes of the owners, Mrs. Mazie Nunn and Mrs. 
Bessie Barker. 


If you haven't eaten a Kilbourne watermelon, you 
haven't eaten watermelon! I ! This is the opinion of not 
only our residents, but also of the many out-of- 
towners who make yearly trips to our village for the 
sole purpose of buying melons . 

As early as 1879 it was recognized and recorded 
that Kilbourne had all the proper conditions necessary 
for raising these melons. Historian Ruggles stated 
that the watermelons were usually ready for market 
by mid-July and that they grew to enormous size in 
this virgin soil — some being as long as a barrel and 
sometimes weighing sixty pounds. 

Many years have come and gone since this was 
written, but melons are still grown in quantity and are 
sold at the roadside markets in and near Kilbourne as 
well as those which are shipped to out of town 

A big panel-bodied truck from Milwaukee, 
Wisconsin, pulled off the grain office scales. 

"How many melons on that thing? " asked a 

"There are 54,000 pounds of watermelons on it", 
replied the scale man, "it was loaded by Charles 
Showalter and Leo Shoemaker " 

"Does that happen often? " 

"Yes, I had one yesterday from Indiana with 
48,000 pounds and in a single afternoon I have weighed 
a quarter of a million pounds from Kilbourne 
growers ". 

"'Gosh, you could almost feed an army". 
"It has been done, " laughed the scale man. "In 
World War II, Paul Friend supplied watermelons 
several times to the gigantic Camp Ellis in Fulton 

"How many melons would it take?" 

"That is a military secret and that isn't kidding. 
Paul was warned by the brass that it was classified 
information and not to tell how many melons it took 
each time because the enemy could figure how many 
slices and that would reveal the number of troops 
stationed there — you had to have a slice for each man 
or there would be rebellion." 

The Paul Friend-Ron Friend complex with 180 
acres is the largest in Illinois according to chain store 
buyers. Other local established growers are Albert & 
Don Hodgson, R. G. Justice, Kenneth Sielschott, 
Clifford & Wayne Friend and Darryl Ebken. During 
the marketing season the Friends have their 
marketing headquarters on the giant South Water 
Produce Market in Chicago. Each night truck loads go 

- 79 - 

into Chicago from Kilbourne growers, in addition to 
the big semi-trailers that are loaded here. 

The watermelon season in the United States ends 
at Kilbourne. As a rule until late in October big panel- 
bodied trucks and semi-trailers will be shuttling back 
and forth between West Virginia. Ohio, and other 
states, and Kilbourne. For example, one Columbus, 
Ohio firm in five days loaded nine trucks, each hauling 
34,000 pounds of melons. 


Albert Hodgson and his son, Donald, and their 
families operate a fruit and vegetable stand on Route 
97 at the northeast corner of town. In 1943. the original 
business was conducted at Walnut and 4th St. and 
later moved to the present location. 

For 27 years, produce such as various kinds of 
squash, red pop corn, sweet corn, pumpkins, eggplant, 
tomatoes, peppers, as well as watermelons and 
cantaloupe have been grown on 50 acres of land to 
supply sales at this stand. 


Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Justice have been engaged in 
the sale of melons and produce for twenty years. 
Originally, they were located at a stand on the east 
side of Route 97, but after three years, moved to the 
site of the present location on the west side of the 
road. Besides growing and marketing cantaloupes and 
watermelons, the Justices handle peaches, apples, 
cider, pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes, squash, and 
other produce products. This year, they have seventy 
acres in produce but have had as much as 150 acres in 
these crops. Besides selling these products at their 
roadside stand, they also ship to Chicago. 

The stand owned by Geg and Lola Justice is 
known as the Shady Inn and is in the same location as 
the first such market in Kilbourne on Route 97. In 
1944. Frank Hodgson saw the potential of locating on 
the newly completed highway and constructed a 
roadside stand at this site. 

Larry Daniels, Springfield, in recent years 
purchased the stand formerly owned by Walter 
Craggs. Since that time, Mr. Daniels has enlarged the 
market and sells a variety of produce. Wilburn Close 
and Wilbur Justice have also operated roadside stands 
which, of course, specialized in watermelons. 

FAMILIAR SIGHT — about the middle of September, 
at several produce stands along Route 97; toward end 
of melon season, Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving 
products on sale. SHOWALTER'S MARKET - 1st 
and Walnut Streets. 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Showalter and sons own and 
operate the Showalter Market and Greenhouse 
located on the corner of Walnut and Route 97 This site 
was formerly an oil station. It was purchased and 
remodeled in 1967. Garden and flower plants are 
grown for marketing in the greenhouse. 

For 20 years they have planted, hoed and 
harvested melons by hand. The market is opened 
early in July for sweet corn and remains open with 
melons and other products for wholesale and retail 
until late October. In December, they open again for 
the sale of Christmas trees, most of which are locally 

This home is an example of what can be done with a 
century-old farm house — It was built by Benjamin 
Gatton in 1864, later owned by George Spruce, D. C. 
Brown, Josephine Brent, Hurst family, and presently 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boyle and Randy 
At the time the Boyles bought the house, it had been 
vacant for thirteen years and was badly in need of 
repair. In time, the home was restored where possible 
(even the original walnut stair rail was stripped and 
refinished), and remodeled where necessary — the 
pantry was forfeited to make the kitchen larger and 
the small front entry hall became part of the living 
room. Last year, the side porch was closed-in, 
forming a brick wall and fireplace in the family room. 
The Boyles have even furnished the house almost 
entirely with pieces of furniture dating back to the 
time when the house was built. 

— 80 - 


■Mrs. Lydia Bradley, founder of the Bradley 
Polytechnic institute at Peoria, her attorney. W. W. 
Hammond and her sister. Mrs. Beggs, spent Tuesday 
at the Bradley farm, five miles south west of 
Kilbourne. The visit was the celebration of Mrs. 
Bradlev's 90th birthday, " Sangamon Sawyer. August 
4. 1906." 

•I think that it is safe to say that Bradley 
University today", says Allen A. Upton. Director, 
alumni and public relations at Bradley, 'is founded on 
some of the farm developments that Mrs. Bradley 
undertook in the Kilbourne area. 

'Mrs. Bradley had loaned money on 240 acres in 
Kilbourne Township. The mortgagor abandoned the 
land and left the country. Mrs. Bradley gave a tenant 
three years rent free to clear out the willows and get 
the land under cultivation. The land lay in the edge of 
a marsh alongside the C. P. & St. L. Railroad. There 
was no outlet for the water and the tenant couldnt 
drain the land. Mrs. Bradley, hearing of the situation, 
proceeded to buy an additional 1.500 acres at $33.33 
per acre, formed a district, drained out the country 
and opened up new farm land that sold for $100 to $140 
an acre at the time Bradley was founded. She cleared 
over $100,000 from the deal. 

"Mrs. Bradley purchased 3,500 acres of land in 
the Sangamon River bottom between Chandlerville 
and Kilbourne. Again, she drained the land, cut and 
sawed the lumber for farm buildings and fences. 
Adjoining land was then reclaimed and roads were 
built, churches and schools constructed and Mrs. 
Bradley, in addition to opening up a wild, marshy area 
for cultivation and development, also cleared over 
$100,000. • 


Did you know that on March 4, 1959, a four-column 
headline across page one of the Illinois State Register 
emblazoned "Huge Transmitter Located Near 
Kilbourne — World's Most Powerful Radio Station"? 
The Long Branch Station, under the direction of the 
National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado, was 
established in 1957 as a radio propagation research 
facility to study the transmission and propagation of 
radio waves. It transmits a six million-watt signal as 
compared to the average 50,000 watt commercial 
radio station. It sends no spoken message but is 
constantly probing the upper region of the earth's at- 
mosphere. A single radar beam goes 75 to 400 miles 
straight up into the ionosphere band. One "maze" 
antennae resembles the "jungle gym" found on school 

In 1958, the Harvard College Observatory and 
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, initiated a meteor research program 
in conjunction with the National Bureau of Standards 
at the Long Branch facility. The purpose of the 

meteor research program was to study meteors 
entering the earth's upper atmosphere and to obtain 
greater knowledge of the upper atmospheric density. 
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
has provided funds for many of the meteor research 
studies conducted at the Long Branch Station and 
have used the information obtained from the research 
facilities in their space explorations and manned 

Some of the men employed at the station have 
resided in Kilbourne including John Green, Earl F. 
Snyder and Percy Fry. 


Members of Mason County Cooperative Extension 
Council and Vegetable Growers Association 
expressed concern about the potential for vegetable 
production. Little research data was available on our 
soils. The University of Illinois Foundation owned 1000 
acres of land in Bath Township which was being 
leased to farmers. The Horticulture Department of 
the U. of I., with the aid oL Mr. Stuart Hawbaker, 
Mason County Farm Adviser, obtained a lease on 40 

During 1969, a permanent building was erected. A 
group of interested farmers and businessmen donated 
funds toward the cost of a well. Later that season, 
vegetable crops were established and successful trials 
on varieties of fertilizers were completed. In 1970 
more research plots were planted consisting of 
potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, horseradish, melons, 
cantaloupes, green beans, squash, and pumpkins. 
Variety selection, fertilization, and irrigation of 
vegetables are being studied at the present time. The 
results of this research will, no doubt, have a great 
bearing on future vegetable production in Mason 


One of the happenings in the Kilbourne 
community each summer is the Threshing Bee at the 
Ted Kruse home on the last Saturday and Sunday of 
July. The steam engines are steamed up, separators 
pulled out of the shed, and an old-fashioned threshing 
can be seen. 

Other exhibits which are brought in include model 
trains, small steam engines, and a miniature replica 
of New Salem. Other features of the Bee are antique 
cars and an old-time popcorn wagon. 

Did You Know — 

Kilbourne once had a "pest house " located south 
of town where people had to stay until recovered from 
small pox. The township paid for their food and for 
someone to take care of the patient, usually someone 
who had already had the dread disease themselves. 

- 81 


For entertainment, our forefathers took more 
time for visiting and just being neighborly than we do 
in 1970. They enjoyed music. Many young ladies were 
given music lessons and accompanied group singing 
at church and school, or at home around the reed or- 
gan or the piano. Near the turn of the century. 
Kilbourne had a uniformed brass band of over 20 
pieces that was in demand for picnics, political 
rallies, and celebrations. There was also a string 
ensemble of guitars and mandolins. People who 
owned an Edison graphaphone were often asked to 
provide entertainment at parties and family 
gatherings. Martin and Adam Masten, Hardin 
Thomas, Ernest Madison, Gene Willing, and Bill 
Zirkle were among these first fortunate folk. 

As far back as the 1880's, there was a Literary 
Society here. This community has always patronized 
good plays and enjoyed the songs, instrumental 
music, and readings between acts. The Kilbourne 
Entertainers, organized in 1902, often put on a series 
of four plays during the winter months, frequently 
showing them in nearby towns. The S.B.K.I.F.Y. 
Young People's Club of Mt. Zion (no one remembers 
what those letters stand for) put on such plays as "A 
Noble Outcast' and ■Freezing a Mother-in-law". 
Another group in the early 1920's had fun putting on 
plays. According to Maggie Whiteley, one of the 
actresses, they had no director, just general 
discussion, suggestions and no disagreements. Then 
there were oratorical contests, debates between 
schools of the area where many weighty questions 
were thoroughly discussed but probably never decided 

At one time several lodges met regularly in the 
various halls downtown. Modern Woodmen, Knights 
of Pythias, Maccabees, Coming Men of America for 
the younger fellows, and Royal Neighbors for the 

For those who wanted to get out of town, there 
were boat excursions on the Illinois River, boat shows 
at Bath and Havana announced by gay calliope music, 
and camping at chautauquas at Old Salem and at the 
old Riverside Park south of Havana featuring such 

GRAPHAPHONE - Bill and Walter Zirkle and Mrs. 
Joseph Zirkle 

speakers as Gipsy Smith, Billy Sunday, and William 
Jennings Bryan. 

Many types of entertainers included Kilbourne in 
their circuits — medicine shows (usually with a 
popularity contest for the young ladies), weekly 
lyceum courses during the winter months in the halls 
or churches providing inspirational lectures and 
concerts, '"the celebrated Samuell Brothers " — a 
musical group from Easton, The Sherman Stock Co., 
Charley's Show which drew crowds from far and near, 
week-long Chautauqua programs in a tent in the grade 
school yard, and once in a while a small circus. Horse 
races here and at Oakford provided excitement. 
Kilbourne at one time had 'the crack base ball team 
of the county". 

All in all, folks seemed to get more enjoyment 
from life in those times than we do, with all our 
modern advantages. Quoting from Mrs. James 
Blakeley from General Ruggles's Mason County 
History as she spoke of very early pioneer times. 
"And yet people were just as happy then, apparently 
more so, than at the present day ( 1879 i, and far more 
sociable. Neighbor' had something of the broad 
meaning given to it by the Saviour of the world 
eighteen hundred years ago " 

STEREOSCOPE — for viewing yesterday's version of 3-D pictures. 

- 82 - 


Years ago, Kilbourne was noted for the avid 
interest and participation of the townspeople in the 
numerous local clubs and organizations. In fact, at 
one time, Kilbourne was the only town in the United 
States that had two lodges of the Coming Men of 
America for boys. One met in Draper's Hall and one 
in Craggs and Field's Hall. 

In the early 1900's, there were listed in the local 
newspapers these secret societies: Sampson Tent, 

K.O.T.M.; Knights of Pythias: District Court of 
Honor: Modern Woodmen of America: and Faithful 
Lodge, CM. A. The active members of these various 
organizations included H. L. Blakeley, H. E. 
McWhorter, S. A. Conklin, Joseph Zirkle, G. F. 
Fierce, Jesse Craggs, J. A. Conklin, J. J. Stroh, J. C. 
Young, John W. Sutton, C. W. Field, A. L. Wright, 
John Grissom. Edwin Blakeley, J. E. Smith, and J. S. 

Still today the organizations are plentiful and 
provide widely varied interest for any person. 

KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS LODGE REPRESENTATIVES at the grave of a fellow member 


The Royal Neighbors of America is a fraternal 
insurance organization which was first organized in 
Kilbourne in 1907 with seven charter members: Leona 
Brent, Laura Carter, Lora Madison, Julia Madison, 
Rosa McDaniel, Alice Fierce, and Ada Bluneau. In 
1964, the Kilbourne Camp consolidated with Snicarte 
Oakleaf Camp. Today the membership includes 
twelve fifty-year members who are Florence 
Kramer. Esther Bastion, Margaret Whiteley, Mary 
Friend, Lorena Blessman, Alta Blessman. Mabel 
Lane. Alta Sarff, 'Velma Sarff, Bessie Smith, Wilma 
Fletcher, and Flossie Conklin. 

The present officers are Oracle. Laura McDaniel: 
Vice-Oracle. Mary Smith: Recorder. Elsie Sarff: 
Chancellor, Mabel Lane; Inner Sentinel, Alta 

Blessman: Outer Sentinel, Edith Murphy; Marshal, 
Vada Ingram; Assistant Marshal, Jennie Sarff. 


The Modern Woodmen of America is one of the 
four fraternal organizations of Kilbourne listed in the 
October 6, 1906 edition of the Sangman Sawyer 
newspaper. In the earlier years, the men of the 
community were very active in this organization. 

The Modern Woodmen of America is still active 
today, but in recent years, it has become more 
interested in activities for the youngsters of the 
community. Nationally, it is the sponsor of a 
scholarship fund for the members. Locally, the 
representatives. Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Curry, make 
arrangements for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and 
Hallowe'en Party. 

- 83 - 


The history of the Oak Ridge 4-H Club as told by 
the leader, William H. Lane, is so interesting that we 
only wish it could be printed just as he wrote it. 

The highlights of the story are as follows: 

The club, which was organized in 1936, started 
when Donald Sielschott (whose father had died 
sometime before) promised to find enough members 
if Mr. Lane would consent to be the leader. Securing 
the help of Farm Advisor Ray Watson, they learned 
the objectives of 4-H, the pledge, and discussed 
projects. They decided on swine as their project and 
Mr. Lane, an experienced Duroc breeder, furnished 
each member with a bred gilt to help them get 
started. The charter members were Verla Stone, 
Marjorie Lane, Cecil Stone, Leonard Lane, Donald 
Sielschott, president, and Clyde Goben, junior leader. 
Later, five more young people joined with projects of 
beef, poultry and garden projects besides the health 
project for all. 

After considerable discussion and little 
encouragement from the county leader, the club 
decided to hold their own show in a grove on the Lane 
farm. With much planning and cooperation of parents 
and friends, a very successful day was held with 
basket dinner, short program, judging, and prizes. 
Each member of the club completed his projects and 
showed in the county and seven of the club went to the 
State Fair. The local show became an annual affair 
with free fish suppers being served. 

In 1938, five members were chosen to represent 
the Club of the Year on a radio program, and two 
members and the leader went to Chicago to take part 
in a broadcast. In December of that same year, the 
club organized one of the first immunization 
programs for club members and school children in the 
four surrounding school districts. Also, in 1938, the 
club began to publish a paper to bring their work to 
the public. 

Every year, each member carried projects in 
health, fire and safety, and many gave 
demonstrations in first aid. An annual drive was held 
to earn money for the local show. Throughout the 
history of the club, the members won many awards 
for outstanding achievement, including trips to 
leadership camp and one trip to the National 4-H 

As the years passed, the leader began to look for 
someone to take his place, but he was unsuccessful. 
After twenty-four productive years. Oak Ridge held 
its last show and closed the pages of its success. 


The Kilbourne Ramblers 4-H Club was organized 
in 1930 with Mary Craggs and Margaret Maseman as 
leaders. During the history of the club, it has sent 
three members to the National 4-H Congress in 1939- 

The organization still exists today with many 
leaders throughout its forty-year history. Mrs. Betty 
Baker, Mrs. Emma Finch, and Mrs. Carol Kolves are 
the present leaders of the twenty-one members whose 
varied projects include sewing, cooking, arts and 
crafts, flower gardening, family gardening, and 
wildlife conservation. Until three years ago, this was 
a Home Economics Club for girls but recently boys 
have become members. 


The Kilbourne Little League is now coached by 
Milford Sarff, the A Team and Robert Griffin, B 
Team. These teams have played a regular Little 
League schedule of games since 1960. 

Funds for the organization are primarily earned 
through the refreshment stand which is operated at all 
home games. 


Boy Scout Troop 100 of Kilbourne and Bath is 
sponsored by the VFW Post of Havana. Gary Sarff is 
the leader of this troop of about twenty boys, approxi- 
mately half of which are from Kilbourne. Monthly 
meetings are held, alternating between the two towns. 

Activities include various field trips and camping- 
out on the grounds furnished them at White City. This 
summer, a special project has been underway to paint 
barrels to be used in the clean-up connected with the 
Kilbourne Centennial Celebration. 

Committee members from Kilbourne include 
Eddie Dossett who is the Institutional Representative, 
William McCoy, and Robert Griffin. 


The two Cub Scout dens of Kilbourne began 
meeting in November of 1968, the charter, officially 
issued in February of 1969. to Pack 100, which is spon- 
sored by the Bath Volunteer Fire Department. Arthur 
Ward serves as Cub Master and Robert Oilers is the 
Assistant Master and Secretary. 

Den meetings are held once a week under the 
leadership of Den Mothers, Mrs. Laura McDaniel and 
Mrs. Dorothy Stufflebeam. Pack meetings are held 
monthly alternating between Kilbourne and Bath. 

To earn money for handcraft projects, field trips, 
and other programs, the members have held bake 
sales, sold fire extinguishers, and this spring, sold 
flower and vegetable seeds. 

This summer the Cubs are busy painting barrels 
to be used for litter in the downtown area and plan to 
help in the clean-up before, during, and after the 
Centennial Celebration. 

Did You Know — 

The mens boxing club had bouts in Bridges" 
Blacksmith Shop and the boys' boxing club held bouts 
in Ralph PuUen's Blacksmith Shop. 

- 84 - 

Our Volunteer Firemen — Kneeling in front, Robert Prater and Edward B. Close. Standing at the far right — 
Donald Schaeffer. Standing — Terry Justice, Raymond Williams, Howard Blakeley, Jenith (Buster) Shults, 
William Freeman, Wendell Daniel, Billy Lane, and David Fomoff. Sitting on the truck — Stanley Huey and 
Charles (Butch) Beams. Getting in the truck is Chief Roy Lee Cowin. 


In 1959, the Town Board purchased a fire truck 
and a building to be used as a station house and 
appointed Otis Hughes as Fire Chief — this was the 
beginning of what has become an ever-improving 
Volunteer Fire Department. Those men serving on 
the board at that time were J. Carroll Adkins, 
President; Lee Hardin, Clerk; and Trustees, Delbert 
Bell. Frank Madison. Eldredge Bahl, Elmer Knuppel, 
Howard Blakelev. 

The Kilbourne Fire Protection District was 
formed in 1965 with J. Carroll Adkins, Franklin 
Sisson, and Clifford Friend appointed to be the 
directors. With tax funds from the district available, a 
new truck was purchased. At the present time Roy 
Lee Cowin is Chief; Robert Prater, Assistant Chief; 
and Donald Schaeffer, Secretary-Treasurer 

Two years ago, it was announced that plans were 
being made for the construction of a combination fire 
station and community center. Since that time, 
annually in July, the firemen have held a fish fry to 
earn money towards this goal. 


^//'V/c;'/// ,,,>^.::^ 

Frank Hodgson, father of Arizona Hodgson 
Lampton, Albert, and Alvin Hodgson, wore a full 
beard all his life and kept it trimmed with clippers. 
The story is told that when he went to a barber in 
Havana to be shaved, the barber told him it would be 
too hard on his razor, and offered to pay him to go to 
another barber. Mr. Hodgson decided to keep his 

— 85 


The Kilbourne Community Club, which was 
established in the early forties, remained very active 
for many years and introduced traditions which are 
still carried on today. This club was originally a 
P.T.A. but was later changed to a community club 
with much emphasis placed on projects for the school. 

This organization sponsored such annual events as 
the Father-Son Banquet, Mother-Daughter Banquet, 
community Christmas tree, and Santa treats. A 
variety of entertainment was provided at the monthly 
meetings including special guest speakers, movies, 
slides, musical programs, and productions by the 
youngsters of the community. 

For several years, the club members were quite 
active in the Ground Observer Corps. These people 
acted as civilian volunteer plane spotters to prevent a 
sneak attack by aircraft and was a link in a national 
chain of such groups. 

The last available records show that the final 
meeting of this organization was held in May, 1958. 


The Kilbourne Women's Community Club was 
organized in September of 1967, by twenty-four 
women who wanted to be of service to their 

Much of the club work is done for the children of 
the area including such projects as acting as "class- 
room mothers ", assisting the school nurse in various 
health programs, providing transportation for the 
swim days sponsored by the Optimists, and helping 
with the refreshment stand during the Little League 
season. The school children and the firemen join with 
the Women's Club each year to set up a community 
Christmas tree and decorations in the business 
district. The Women's Club furnishes the treats given 
to all the children by Santa. 

The current officers of the club are Mrs. Laura 
McDaniel, President; Mrs. Elsianne Sielschott, Vice- 
President: Mrs. Mary Boyle, Secretary; and Mrs. 
Shirley Daniel, Treasurer. 


Several men from the area are members of the 
Bath-Lynchburg-Kilbourne Optimist Club. The slogan 
of this club is "Friend of the Boy" — and friends they 
are! Not only to the boys, but to all the youngsters of 
the Balyki School District. The co-sponsorship with 
the Bath Woman's Club of a milk program at the 
schools, a summer swimming program, and the 
annual Hallowe'en wiener roast are for all the 
youngsters. Those programs, just for boys, include 
the youth baseball program, the oratorical contest, 
and an annual trip to a St. Louis ball game for the 
Little Leaguers. 

Funds for these activities are raised at the annual 
pancake and sausage supper and the lemon shake 
stand operated at the Bath Homecoming and the 
Kilbourne Firemen's Fish Fry. 

The present officers are Albert Hoesman, 
President; Chadwick May all, Vice-President; Dave 
Fornoff, Secretary; Milford Sarff, Treasurer; and 
Robert Rennecker, Sergeant-at-Arms. 


The Kilbourne Homemakers' Extension 
(formerly the Home Bureau) was organized in 1929 
with twenty-nine members. The Kilbourne 
organization was one of the charter units of Mason 

At the present time, the organization has nine 
members. The current officers are Mildred Kramer, 
Chairman; Carole Lascelles, First Vice Chairman; 
Elsie Sutton, Second Vice President; Evelyn Thomas, 
Secretary; and Nelda Kolves, Treasurer. 


Many men of the area are members of the Mason 
County Farm Bureau. This organization was 
incorporated and chartered in Mason County in 1915. 

One purpose of the Farm Bureau is to assist the 
members in acquiring a more thorough understanding 
of agriculture and also, to help develop more modern 
methods of farming. The Farm Bureau, in 
cooperation with the Illinois Agricultural Association, 
has been quite successful in representing the views of 
the farmers to the members of the State Legislature. 

The Farm Service Company which is a supplier of 
petroleum products, fertilizers, seeds, weed killers, 
and other agricultural needs is associated with the 
Farm Bureau. The local distributor for many of these 
products is Earl Nail. 

• * * * 

Replacement of street lights with new vapor 
lights and installation of several new lights have 
helped to brighten the village at night. 

Re-opening of the township dump, which had been 
closed for some time, gave citizens a chance to get rid 
of unsightly trash. 

* * * * 

Did You Know — 

Mrs. Nina Bell Waddell, now of Palos Verdes, 
California, was one of the pioneer air stewardesses. 
She flew as an American Airway Stewardess from 
August, 1933 to January 1937. 

Did You Know — 

Antiques are things one generation buys, the next 
generation gets rid of, and the following generation 
buys again ! ! ! 

— 86 — 


In 1843, Aaron Ray received the original U. S. 
patent for the land on which the village of Kilbourne 
now stands. The village was platted by John B. Gum 
in 1870 and at that time extended two blocks farther 
west but this strip was never developed. In the book of 
revised ordinances published in 1908, the village was 
officially described as consisting of all territory 
contained within a one-square mile area. 

Tradition says that the village was named for 
Edward Kilbourne of Keokuk, Iowa, a contractor who 
was working on the Springfield and Northwestern 
Railroad being built through here at that time. To 
substantiate this story, in copies of clippings provided 
by the Keokuk Public Library, we read that Mr. 
Edward Kilbourne did build a railroad in Illinois. 
Then there is the local story about Kilbourne 
scrapers, probably of the type used by Mr. Kilbourne 
in the construction of the railroad. However, Mrs. Ida 
Kilbourne of Minneapolis, Minnesota, whose hobby is 
all things concerning the name Kilbourne, feels that 

the town was named for the promoter of the railroad. 
At any rate, we like our town's name and, according 
to the U. S. Postal Department records, there are only 
two other Kilbournes in our nation, in Louisiana and in 

The official seal of Kilbourne is inscribed as 
follows: Corporate Seal — December 26, 1903 — 
Village of Kilbourne. From this we assume that this 
was the date of incorporation. It is told that one 
argument for incorporation was the fact that since 
Oakford was wet and our town was dry, Kilbourne 
should be able to collect revenue from the saloons to 
use for police purposes. 

The site of the Town Hall was purchased by the 
village and township from C. E. Conklin, May 25, 1904 
for $100. 

The members of the Town Board in March, 1904 
included President, E. A. Eddy; Clerk, Austin L. 
Wright; Attorney, Joseph E, Barnes; Marshal, E. J, 
Smith; Trustees, R. M. Goben, J. W. Pierce, C. W, 
Gum, and Jesse Black. 

Our Village Officials - 1970 — front row, Tom Justice, Trustee; Mrs. Floye Hughes, Clerk (In looking through 
all available village records we found that Mrs. Hughes is the first woman to serve in our village government. ) ; 
J. Carroll Adkins, Village President; Donald Conklin, Trustee. Second row, Jenith (Buster) Shults, Trustee; 
Harold Shores, Trustee; Glen Riegel, Trustee. Back row, Eldred Craggs, Treasurer; Raymond Bahl, Trustee. 

- 87 - 


If the tremendous gaps in the history of the village 
of Kilbourne, before and following its founding in 1870, 
could be filled in there would still be one outstanding 
figure — John B. Gum. Mr. Gum must have been a 
very ambitious man. In Alden Ogle's Plat Book in 1891 
his occupation is listed as "capitalist" — the only one 
in Mason County. His optimism was shown, too, by his 
plans for Kilbourne, he platted sixty-three blocks in 
the original town. When you compare that with other 
original towns — Havana-35 blocks; Bath-15, Easton- 
7: Mason City-37 and San Jose-20 — he must have 
expected quite a population. 

No old timers are left to explain his changing 
residence. The 1891 atlas gives his residence as 
Section Eight in Bath township and his post office as 
Saidora. A school house is shown on the same section, 
but General James M. Ruggles History of Mason 
County (1879) mentioned him living at Kilbourne. He 
is remembered as having a large house in the country 
about one-fourth mile south of the Kilbourne Baptist 
Church. There are those who remember this house 
being occupied by Hickman B. Samuell, who later 
became Mason County Circuit Clerk and whose son, 
Paul, attended the school where Jo Ann Schoonover 
now lives and grew up to become Justice of the Illinois 
Supreme Court in 1930. This house burned and the 
Samuell family temporarily moved into what had 
been John Scliylers Harness Shop which stood on 
property now owned by Charles Pratt. 

, He was born in 1821 and after living with his 
father, Jesse, B. Gum, at Clary's Grove in Menard 
County, is listed as coming to Mason County in 1870. 

His land' holdings were extensive even for those 
days. An 1874 atlas shows him owning eleven tracts of 
land in Kilbourne township totaling 3580 acres and at 
the same time he owned eighteen tracts totaling 2772 
acres in Bath township — a grand total of 6352 acres. 
Seventeen years later, by 1891, this had diminished to 
nine tracts in Kilbourne township totaling 2061 acres 
and eleven tracts in Bath township totaling 1845 acres 
— a grand total of 3906 acres. 

Most of the Kilbourne township land which lies 
south and southeast of the village wound up in the 
hands of the Turners and Hergets of Pekin. Although 
it had several tenants, it was made a single unit in the 
1900's and its business transacted in the name of "The 
Gum Farm". It remained "The Gum Farm " until 
1956 when the tract was broken into parcels and sold 
at auction with the Turners and other heirs buying the 
individual farms. One tract sold to cover legal and 
sale expenses was bought by Dr. J. P. Sparks of 

The southwest quarter of Section 28 where Mr. 
Gum laid out the village of Kilbourne was registered 
in the name of Moses Ray in 1843. He transferred it to 
his son, Aaron Ray, and later it was owned by C. W. 
Raymond, also A. J. Field, who transferred it to John 
B. Gum in 1870. 

It was generally accepted that Mr. Gum's idea in 
establishing the village was to provide a rail outlet for 
grain as the Springfield and Northwestern railroad 
through here was being built and by 1871 it had 
reached a few miles into Menard County. Prior to that 
time grain from this area, including Crane Creek, was 
hauled in sacks to Bath where it was loaded on steam 
boats. So-called elevators were built here but they had 
no hoisting machinery. The driveways were steep and 
the floors high. The grain went into bins alongside the 
track and from there it was scooped into railroad 

Nobody is left to explain why Gum later built an 
elevator on the east side of the railroad about a mile 
below town. The two sand mounds, which remained 
there until they were bulldozed down in building State 
highway number 97, were known almost to the last as 
Gum's elevator hills. 

Gum was an extensive farmer and had many 
horses and mules. One large group of mules was 
surrounded by rising waters of Pecan Run for several 
days. Thereafter, that spot on the creek was known as 
"Mule Pen ". 

An example of the varied interests of Mr. Gum is 
shown bv an item in the Mason County Democrat, 
March 27, 1891: 

"A score or more of Havana people took the trip 
up river the first of the week on the celebrated new 
steamer, Emma. Sam Sivley, captain and John B. 
Gum, owner '. 


"The Revised Ordinances of the Village of 
Kilbourne" were published in 1908. The village 
officers at that time were President, John C. Young: 
Trustees, Joseph Zirkle, H. C. Ruggles, George B. 
Hall, B. F. Phillips, C. D. Marcy, and H. A. Field: 
Clerk, C. H. Hale: Treasurer, H. C. Conklin; Police 
Magistrate, Joseph E. Barnes; Village Marshal, H. E. 

— 88 - 

Our Township Officials — 1970 — Seated, Harold Pratt, Supervisor; Charles Dearing, Assessor; Edison Sarff, 
Auditor; Wesley Curry, Clerk. Standing — Irwin Gebhards, Auditor; Eldred Craggs, Auditor; Theodore Sisson, 
Road Commissioner. 


In 1841 when Mason County was formed, our 
region was included in Texas Precinct, bounded on the 
east by Salt Creek Township ( Crane Creek was a part 
of Salt Creek until two years later ), on the west by the 
Illinois River, and on the south by the Sangamon. 
Therefore, Texas Precinct included what now is 
Lynchburg, Bath, and Kilbourne Townships. A couple 
of years later, the name of Texas Precinct was 
changed to Bath Precinct. 

It is interesting to note the early county officials 
who (we think) were from this general area William 
McDaniel and Nelson B. Ashurst are listed as among 
the first supervisors in 1841. The first grand jurors in- 
cluded John G. Conover, Thomas F. Blunt, William 

Dew, and Anderson Young. With the list of the travis 
(petit) jurors' names we find George Close, James 
Yardley, Henry Sears, James Ray, Laben Blunt, 
Washington Daniel, Benjamin Sisson. and James 
Blakeley. Albert J. Field and Arthur Morrow were the 
first Justices of the Peace. 

Twenty years later, the precinct system was 
abolished, and township organization took its place. 
Three tiers of sections from Bath and a similar 
amount from Crane Creek Township were joined 
together to form the new Kilbourne Township in 1873. 
Early supervisors after this change included A. S. 
Blakeley, William Dwyer Sr,. and James M. Hardin. 
J. S. Bingham and C. L. Newell were Justices of the 
Peace at the time of the writing of the Mason County 
history in 1879. 

Did You Know — 

Some of our early inhabitants, before 1841 — when 
Mason County was founded, could say that they had 
lived in three counties without moving — Sangamon. 
Menard, and Mason. 

Ripley Recognizes Kilbourne — 

Kilbourne made the "Believe It or Not" feature 
article of Robert Ripley. Official censuses of 1920 and 
1930 gave Kilbourne the same population — 393, Mr. 
Ripley added the strange coincidence to his vast 
collection of "believe it or not" facts. 

- 89 - 

Senior Citizens of 1970 — Have lived in area at one time — This picture was taken at a tea lield in tlieir lionor at 

Kilboume Grade Scliool July 12, 1970. 

First Row — Louisa Morris Moog, Etiiel Friend Keest, Gertie Williamson Ermeling, Maggie Sliafer Bell, 

Walter Upp, Herbert Dralie, Editli Blalceley Prettyman, Vada Smitli Wallace, Wilburn Close 

Second Row — Lena Leiding, Ella Larson Barrett, Carl Keest, Relca Leitlioff Mowder, Lula Murphy Abemathy, 

Jesse Miller, Anna Keest Blalceley, Franli H. Madison, Roy Ranson, Lota Murphy Wallace, Clarence Stroh, 

Charles Lane. 


Allen Clark, 101, and daughters, Alta 
Chandlerville and Alice Lane of Kilbourne. 


— 90 - 

Christine Cowin, Debbie Ebken, Ronda Ebken, Janice Eblien, Jeanine Sisson. 2nd Row — Kim Daniel, Brenda 
and Robin Hodgson, Nanette Prater, Brenda Shoemaker, Mary Kay Ebken. 3rd Row — Pamela Conklin, Sally 
Jo Goben, Wendy Daniel, Vanessa Johnson, Vivian Hughes, Ronda Shoemaker, Denise Blakeley. 

* * * • 

Following is a list of 80 year oldsters now living in 
Kilbourne Township as compiled by Walter Upp, our 
oldest Kilbourne Senior Citizen; 

Mrs. Ella Larson Barrett. Mrs. Ella Craggs 
Beckwith, James Beams, Wilburn Close. Flora 

Collins. Thomas P. Dobson. Dr Albert C. Field, 
Jennie Jackson Curry Godbey. Gordon Hardin, Alice 
Draper Dolbin Hardin. Frank Hughes. Carl Keest, 
Ethel Friend Keest, Frank H. Madison, William Otto, 
Dave Reynolds, Alex Sinclair, Edgar Wallace, Vada 
Smith Wallace, Edward White, George Webb, W. D. 

- 91 - 



Mr. & Mrs. Theora Hodgson & Family 

Mr. & Mrs. Carl Keest 

Mr. Frank Hughes 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert Vanderveen 

Mr. Blaine Close 

Mr. & Mrs. Ronald E. Ebken, Ronda 

and Greg 
Mrs. Vada Wallace 
Mr. & Mrs. Wendell Daniel & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Blakeley & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Prater & Nanette 
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Justice 
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Lee and Darlene 
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard PoUari & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Curry & Sons 
Mr. & Mrs. George Prater 
Mrs. Lola Clark 
Mrs. Hazel Hughes 
Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Hardin 
Harold & Betty Baker. Janice. Virginia 

and Rosalyn 
Mrs. JoAnn Schoonover and Sons 
Mr. & Mrs. Ellis Pedigo 
Mr. & Mrs. Roy Ray 
Mr. & Mrs. Roy Lee Cowin and Family 
Mrs. Rose Tribbett 
Mr. &Mrs.RueWhitlow 
Miss Mayme Barrett 
Mr. & Mrs. Harold Pratt 
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Bale 
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Cowin 
Mr. Thomas Hardin 
Mrs. John \. Wallace 
Mr. & Mrs, Donald Conklin & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Vanderveen 
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Schaeffer & Family 

Mr & Mrs. Theodore Sisson & Family 
Mrs Dorothy Stuff lebeam 
Rev & Mrs Raymond Yow 
Eva Mae and Sheila Foster 
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Hardy 
Mr OrvilleGosnell 
Mr. & Mrs Sylvester Dye & Family 
Mrs. Amanda Stout 

Mr & Mrs Cleveland Goben & Family 
Mr & Mrs Charles Dearing 
Mr & Mrs. Marcus Sisson & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Carroll Adkins & Family 
Mrs Olof Lane 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert Boyle & Randy 
Mr. & Mrs Albert Riegel 
Mr & Mrs Gilbert Bell. Randy & Kristine 
Mr & Mrs. Kenneth Sielschott & Family 
Mr & Mrs Larry Daniel 
Mrs. Alma Missal 
Mr. & Mrs. George Robison 
Mr. & Mrs Jack Johnson & Family 
Mr. & Mrs Ronald Shoemaker & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Adolph Sielschott & Martha 
Mr & Mrs. Ernest Nail 
Mr. & Mrs Hal Ringland 
Mr. & Mrs. Cecil Goben 
Mr & Mrs Burke Ebken & Jeff 
Mr & Mrs Irwin Gebhards 
Mr & Mrs. LeoVanEtten 
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Eddy 
Mr. & Mrs. Ivan Robison 
Mr. & Mrs. Milburn Miller 
Mr. & Mrs. Wilbur Ebken 
Mr. & Mrs. Clifford Friend 
Mr. & Mrs. Delbert Bell 
Mr & Mrs. Oliver Blakeley 
Mr & Mrs. Dallas Drake 
Mr. Cecil Curry 
Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Blakeley 
Mr. k Mrs. Robert Rennecker & Family 
Mr. & Mrs Darryl Ebken, Mary Kay 

& Janice 
Mr. & Mrs. Russell Sisson 
Mr. & Mrs. Franklin i Bud i Sisson & Family 
Mr. & Mrs Phillip Willing & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Williams & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Jenith Schults & Family 
Mr. & Mrs. Earl Ebken 
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Mibbs 
Mr W.R. Close 
Mr & Mrs. Raymond Bahl 
Mr. Harvey Sisson 
Mr. & Mrs. Vernal Smith 
Mr. & Mrs. William McCoy & Tim 
Mrs. GussieCraggs 
Mr. & Mrs Donald Williamson & Mark 
Mr,& Mrs. Ben Cave 
Mr. Edgar Wallace & George Allen 

Mrs. Effie Vaughn 

Mr. & Mrs. Wesley Curry & Cathie 

Mr. & Mrs. John Hodgson. John Jr. & Joel 

Mr. & Mrs. Glen Riegel 

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Branson 

Mr, & Mrs. Junior Lynn 

Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Walsh 

Mr. & Mrs. Paul Gosnell 

Mr. & Mrs Richard Zimmerman 

Mr. & Mrs. Harry Lynn & Family 

Mr. & Mrs Melvin Lascelles & Family 

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Kirby 

Mr. & Mrs. James Hawks 

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Tibbs 

Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Stout & Family 

Mr & Mrs. Dale VanEtten & Family 

Mr. & Mrs. William Wallace & Lynn 

Mr. James Walker 

Mr & Mrs. Wayne Witherall 

Mr & Mrs. Charles Showalter & Boys 

Georgene Prater Fletcher 

Mr. & Mrs. William H Lane 
Mr. & Mrs. Billy Lane & Family 
Mr. Leonard Lane 
Mr. & Mrs. Loyd Daniel 

Mrs. Flossie Conklin 


Mr. & Mrs. Robert Sisson & Family 
Mr. Charles Wiseman 

Mr. & Mrs Leslie Gregory 
Mr & Mrs. Ralph Gregory 
Mr. & Mrs Roy Beckman 
Mr.& Mrs Paul Friend 
Mr. & Mrs Kenneth Kramer 
Mr. & Mrs. George Strawbridge 
Mr. Loren Himmel 
Mr. & Mrs Richard Walker 
Miss Carol Kreiling 
Mr. Lyle Wheeler 
Mrs. Addie Sears 
Mr. & Mrs, George Mohlman 
Mr. & Mrs. Ron Friend & Family 

Mr. & Mrs. John W. Wallace. Stacey 

& Melissa 

Mr & Mrs. Loren Vance 

David & Bonnie Friend 

Mr. & Mrs. Harold Sears 

Mrs. Irma Blakeley Harvey 

Lt. Col. & Mrs. Robert Justice & Family 

- 92 - 

Woessner's Variety Store 
Lemmer, Velde, Boggs, and Krebaum 
Ed Skaggs Lumber Co. 
Don Blessman Insurance 
Knuppel, Grosbell, Becker. andTice 
Pekin Distributing Co. 
Deckard's Rexall Drug 
Havana Auto Parts Cu. 
Morgan's Super Market 
Gamble Store 
Gary's Barber Shop 
Kruse Fertilizer Serv ice Co. 
Western Auto Associates Store — Richard & 
Bee's Restaurant 
State Bank of Havana 
Havana National Bank 
Hurley Funeral Home 
Kar-Stel Chevrolet 
Wolters Drug Store 
Pepsi Cola Co. 
Oney's Super Value 
Sears Catalog Merchant 
Cunningham's Shoe Store 
H. J. Hackman 
Stahl Furniture Co. 
Lynn's Flowers 
Knoles Flowers 
Karl's Variety 
Hines Jewelers 
Haslam Cleaners 
James Stufflebeam 
Main Shoppe 
Walker's Jewelry 
Schmidt's Clothing 
Wehner's Furniture 
Zempel Hardware 
Payne's Furniture 

Ken's Shoe Repair 
Weddle's I G A 
Havana Grill 
Elliot Paint Store 
Stephens & Sons Furniture 


Emit E. Rink Distributing Co. 


Fornoff Fertilizer Co. 
Frank's Shell 

H£.rdwood Lumber Products Co. 
Hodgson's Fruit Stand 
Pat and Kate Lawson 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lynn 
Shorty's Tavern 

Showalter's Market and Greenhouse — Chubb, Erma & Boys 

Riverside Lumber Co. — James Bailey 
Pekin Hardwood Lumber Co. 
Betty Moehring OAKFORD 

Art Anderson Fertilizer 

National Bank of Petersburg 

James A. Barnes 

Mason Co. Service Co. 
Community Bank of Easton 



- 93 - 


they flew over the square in 1918. We want to take this 
means of expressing our appreciation for all of this 
area who have served our country, from the Civil War 
through today. Many have made the supreme 
sacrifice. Any list would probably be incomplete, 
therefore, our love and respect to all of them, and to 
you of 1970. 


When our mothers and grandmothers thought they 
could not bake good bread without McDaniel's Yeast? 
It was made in their home by George and Mayme 
McDaniel and daughters, Essie and Ruby, from a 
recipe handed down from the maternal grandmother 
of Mrs. McDaniel. 

At first they made it only for their own family use 
and now and then for a neighbor. The word spread, 
folks came to their home to buy, others ordered by 
mail. The demand grew until the McDaniels were 
delivering to stores in Kilbourne. Havana, Bath, and 
Oakford. driving the white-faced sorrel ponies. 
Captain and Queen, known for miles around. 

The yeast ingredients were mixed in a large 
wooden tub kept only for that purpose, then rolled out 
and cut into cookie-shaped round cakes. After drying 
for 4-5 days on tiers of screen-like shelves, the yeast 
cakes could be stored. During World War I they 
purchased their corn meal directly from the miller 
with a manufacturer's permit, three 100-pound bags at 
a time. This yeast was of higher potency than most on 
the market and housewives had to learn how much to 
use or, as someone said, they would have "bread 
dough all over the town. " 

In the early 1920's baker's bread became popular, 
automobiles made shopping quicker and easier, and 
the McDaniel's yeast making business became 

* * * * 


First Marriage 
Garrett - 1839 

Jacob Clotfelter to Mary 

First R.E.A. Line — October 1938 — Among the 
first on this line were Henry Tibbs, Tom Kirby, Ross 
Lee, and Henry Miller — A line was run to Gilbert 
Bells in 1939 

Among the first to use Delco Lights were Jim 
Walker, Cress Bell, Carl Hughes, and Frank Daniel 

Among the first to raise soy beans were Delbert 
Bell, Roy Ranson and Brady Stone 

One of the first to raise alfalfa in the area was 
Roy Ranson who used seed his father had brought 
from Kansas 

One of the first to recognize the soil building 
qualities of sweet clover was George Crane in 1913 

* * * • 
Do You Remember — 

"The Three Musketeers" played for the Memorial 
Day services at the Methodist Church yard and led the 
procession to the cemetery. Dr. Root played the fife, 
Jake Garrett the snare drum, and Cal Conklin the big 
bass drum. Children carried flowers to place on the 

* * * * 

These names are representative of the men who 
have served our town and township government since 
the village was incorporated. Because of incomplete 
records, we cannot name everyone, but to all who 
gave their time and talents we give our thanks. 

T. R. Blunt, H. C. Conklin, G. L. McDaniel, Roy F. 
Upp, C. H. Hale, J. A. Conklin, D. M. Comingore, G. J. 
Ermeling, Frank Pratt, Robert Dolbin, C. F. Craggs, 
John Bahl, E. L. Willing, E. J. Shirtcliff, John 
Grissom, Charles Schaad, Wm. Dwyer, J. S. Davis. 
Dexter Curry. Frank Davis. John Prief. R. M. Goben. 
P. 0. Folk, L. C. Carter, Clyde Wallace, John Sutton, 
Alva Craggs, Leslie Conklin, H. M. Ade, 0. R. 
Madison. Edwin Blakeley, J. E. Smith. Harry Howe. 
Asa Watkins. George Hobbs. H. A. Beckwith. H. S. 
Clark, Wesley Craggs, Clell Daniel, Charles A. 
Bearden, Benjamin Sutton, H. E. McWhorter, Hal 
Ringland. Carl Gosnell, Frank Baker, A. L. Wright. G. 
W. Clotfelter. Henry Beckwith, Joseph Zirkle, J. E. 
Barnes, E. A. Eddy, C. G. Close, Frank Phillips, 
George Hale, P. G. Mahan, Henry C. Ruggles, C. D. 
Marcy, H. A. Field. John C. Young, Fred Garrett, 
George Scheuering, W. D. Upp, Frank Daniel. Dallas 
Craggs. L L. Craggs. James Duckwiler. W. I. 
Edwards. Glen Hughes. W. 0. Barkus. Frank Hughes," 
C. E. Hughes, D. A. Yarnall, F. Friend, E. McNeal, 
Earl Carter, L. 0. Goben. Donald Dolbin. George 
Hobbs. Edison Sarff. Isley Craggs. Paul Friend. 
Charles Friend. D. L. Martin. Clinton Craggs. Frank 
Madison. Clifford Friend. Harold 0. Pratt, Fred 
Clark, Gilbert Craggs, E. J. Lane, George Prater. H. 
L. Blakeley. Delbert A. Bell. J. A. Sinclair, Wilburn 
R. Close, Walter Garrett, Chester Hopper, J. Carroll 
Adkins. William Cave, Frank Stout, Eldredge Bahl, 
George D. Craggs, Elmer Knuppel. Lee Hardin. 
Walter Garrett, William McCoy, Harold Sears, Roy 
Lee Cowin, Eldred Craggs, Mrs. Floye Hughes. 

- 94 - 



( As submitted by Committee Chairmen ) 

Chairman; Maurine Ebiten, Secretary; Alfred Baker; 
Donald Conklin; Wendell Daniel; Geneva Gebhards; 
Milford Sarff ; Dorothy Stufflebeam. 


The antique exhibit — cars, clothing, children's 
furniture and toys, dishes, furniture, kitchen utensils, 
guns, Indian artifacts and history, harness, 
machinery and horse-drawn conveyances, papers, 
pictures and photographs, tools, and historic sites, 
was a co-operative community effort. Everyone 
assisted. Family treasures were loaned to those in 
charge of showing the various antiques. Both men and 
women willingly set up the exhibits and provided day 
and night security for these irreplaceables. 

Chairman; Gary Bell; Joyce Bell; Ed Close; Evelyn 
Johnson; John Johnson; Ruth Sisson 

CONCESSIONS: Bill Lane and Don Schaeffer, Co- 
chairmen; Ed Dossett; Bill Freeman; Stan Huey; 
Bob Lynn; Bob Prater; Charles Showalter 

ENTERTAINMENT: Mary Boyle, Chairman; 
Harold Baker; Linda Baker; Stanley Butler; Jim 
Conklin; Erla Ebken; Ann Hodgson; Charlotte 
Hodgson; Ronald Shoemaker; Erma Showalter 

FINANCE: Hazel Hughes, Chairman; Blanche 
Hawks, Vice-Chairman; Dave Fornoff, Secretary- 
Treasurer; Delbert Bell; Wesley Curry; Mickie 
Fletcher; Theora Hodgson; Doris Sisson; Raymond 

FIX-UP AND CLEAN-UP: Eddie Dossett and 

HOMECOMING: Beulah Reynolds; Alma Missal; 
Lloyd and Elsie Sutton 

PARADE: ■Cuddy" and Verniece Wallace, Co- 
chairmen; Darryl and Gay Ebken; Ronald and Diane 
Ebken ; Ted and Shelby Sisson ; Ken and Mary Thomas 
PUBLICITY: Frank Madison, Chairman; Eva 
Mae Foster; Hallie Hamblin; Twila Shoemaker; 
Frank Sisson 

PRIZES: Glendora Blakeley, Alice Pratt. Mary 
Ellen Rennecker, Edison Sarff, Delbert Wieber 

SOUVENIRS: Jim and Vicki Fornoff, Bill 
Freeman, Grace Johnson, Ivan and Clara Robison, 
Roger and Sandi Robison 

VESPER SERVICE: Rev. Raymond Yow, 
Chairman; Rev. Robert J. Martin, Rev. Kenneth 
Thomas, Rev. Walter Welch, Rev. Arthur P. Schauer, 
Shelby Sisson, Alice Wieber 

A few months ago, we were asked to write a book 
about our community in commemoration of our 
centennial year. Because there was no single source 
of material, we have enlisted the help of countless 
people, presently or formerly of this area. It is to all 
of these we wish to express our heart-felt thanks. 

We want to especially remember the "savers" — 
those responsible for that stack of wonderful old 
newspapers, and those from far and near who passed 
on their clippings, keepsakes, and precious family 
records. Our sincere appreciation goes to the trusting 
folks who allowed us the use of their photographs (we 
learned again the importance of names and dates on 
pictures), friends who offered the use of county 
histories and atlases, the people at the Mason County 
Court House for their patience and help in looking up 
records so rich in local history, those who shared 
memories that filled the many gaps in our story, and 
to the assistants who gathered data and gave us write- 
ups of various phases of our community history. 

We appreciate the work of Charlotte S. Hodgson in 
designing the book cover and most of the illustrations 
and of Arlis Vanderveen for her sketches 
representative of Kilbourne yesterday and today. 

Without all this wonderful assistance, we would 
never have been able to make our •scribblings", and 
without our typist, Shirley Daniel, the printer could 
never have deciphered them. 

So many have cooperated in writing your book. To 
each of you, from each of us — Thank you! 
Janet Prater Becki Craggs 

Ruth Lynn Mayme Barrett 

Hallie Hambl in Lola Clark 
Bill Lane, Photographer 


- 95 

By Hazel Lucille (Geisler) Edwards 

Many times have we read of the unfinished task 

The work that was left undone, 

We've heard fine speakers, in eloquent words 

We've remembered the songs that were sung: 

All seemed far away, remote to our lives — 

As we live these lives, day by day 

But the meaning comes home, realized in truth 

When a loved one has passed away. 

We think in the evening of a day worthwhile. 

And plan work tomorrow will bring; 

A week and a month and years pass along — 

They pass like a bird on the wing; 

With all that we've done, there is never a time 

But there's something more we must do. 

For ne'er can we say, very truthfully say — 

We've every thing done, we are through. 

A book to be published, a trip to be made — 

A story that's ready to sell. 

An invention to help people struggle along — 

How many such tasks, who can tell*? 

A little time longer these, too. might have 

been done — 
To carry on life as was planned. 
Then some other thing would fill in the space 
Of the unfinished task on hand. 

There seems to be only one thing we can do. 
Accomplish each day what we may — 
Thus leaving the least of unfinished tasks — 
As the sun sinks and ends our day. 
So living, that, passing from this mortal home 
Leaving so many worthwhile things done. 
Others who know of our unfinished tasks. 
Will accept them and carry on. 

_ 96 - 





fOP L^ R St_ 

Uoc-vs t sjh 



mM'tAu.± ^± 


^IPme: Sit. 

- UJ 

w/ 1 1 ff^& sj- 








3 0112 050750972